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Finally, the Sacred Silence
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
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Text from the first four paragraphs of "Finally, the Sacred Silence"I wanted to pray with my mother. After a half day in airports and on planes, I had returned for another visit to see her, another four days of watching her being cared for by the most loving and skilled hands, of watching her be bathed and changed and dressed. As I fed her at meals, I couldn't help but think of the many, many times she had fed me and my five brothers and sisters when we were her babies.At an earlier visit last spring, I had prayed the rosary with her and had been delighted that she had some sense of what we were doing. But in the months afterwards and several more visits, there had been no response to prayer. That part was gone, and one more tiny filament of my mother's life force seemed to have dropped away.When I called home, I talked to my husband, Jim, and then held the phone up to my mother's ear. After 32 years of our marriage, his voice was familiar to her and warm and loving. Her face had lit up in silent recognition. As I held the phone, I could hear Jim talking to her. "Rosemary, we pray for you every morning. We pray like this: 'Our Father, who art in heaven'..." My mother lifted her head knowingly and listened to the familiar words but then her gaze shifted to the blank walls and her eyes dimmed. He finished his prayer for her, his gift, and I hung up the phone. On my visits to my mother, I tried to keep her stimulated, talking to her, telling her about my children, and other family members, telling family stories. She probably didn't comprehend much and in her mostly wordless state, it was hard to gauge a response, but I had the sense that my familiar voice brought a comfort to her.