Here is one of the most remarkable stories I’ve run across in all my nearly 20 years of writing When’s God Gonna Show Up? stories…
The other day, I got a call from a man interested in ordering some of our stations of the cross booklets, Ecce Mater Tua – Behold, Your Mother. He works at Sacred Heart Seminary, where a good friend of ours works. The man, Eduardo, found a copy of our stations in the literature rack by the chapel among the other stations. He thought they were very interesting.
After placing his order – 50 copies – he told me why he had to have these stations.
His son is being deployed with the Wisconsin National Guard and belongs to the same unit our son, Matt belonged to before his recent transfer to another armory. His son left that day for Iraq from Ft. Bliss, where Matt is currently preparing for departure to Iraq. This young man (21 years old – Matt is 23), just enlisted and went to Basic Training at Ft. Benning where Matt went for Basic. Sadly, Eduardo’s son had to go straight from Basic to deployment training at Ft. Bliss. He’s an infantryman, and this is his first deployment. They were supposed to have some time with him before he went, but his orders were changed and he had to leave early.
The goodbye was traumatic for the whole family, but especially the mother who clung so hard to her son that Eduardo had to pull her away so he could board the plane.They love and support their son, Eduardo told me, but they just can’t seem to get a grip on being military parents.
Back at work and searching for strength and consolation, Eduardo went to the seminary chapel, knowing that the only way to find true courage was to walk the Stations of the Cross like Christ did.
He went to the literature rack, picked up his usual choice of stations, put them in his pocket and headed into the chapel. Then he stopped. He said he suddenly had this inexplicable, burning drive to go back and get Ecce Mater Tua instead. He prayed them, and they gave him such hope and consolation, that he decided he had to buy copies for himself, family and friends. He thanked me over and over for such beautiful stations.
All this time, I listened patiently to Eduardo, just letting him empty his heart.
When he was finished, I told him about Matt and it absolutely blew his mind. We talked for quite a while, and I was able – I hope – to give him some encouragement and pointers on making it through the coming year. We promised to pray for one another’s sons and hung up.
It’s amazing how God used such a simple thing as a Stations of the Cross booklet to make such an important connection. It’s as if our Blessed Mother was right there, calling to Eduardo, just like in the Stabat Mater…at the Cross her station keeping…