I ran my first marathon October 16, 2011. It was exactly thirty-seven days after my mother died. I trained through that summer as my mother was ending her ten-year battle, her marathon struggle with terminal cancer. I wanted to fight, not as much as she did- but as a tribute to her incredible fighting spirit and to honor all that I learned through her example as she lived by the words of Jesus: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
She was the one who showed me the road, and taught me the tremendous value of the cross. She may not have done it all perfectly, but she surrendered everything to Jesus, and I know as I sat beside her and watched her take her last breath that Jesus and the Blessed Mother were right there to take her straight to heaven.
I know that heaven is the presence of God. I know too that Jesus is present- Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. So when I go to mass, like today, Sunday, and we kneel and look upon that elevated host, I know that heaven is right there, and so is my mommy.
So today I knelt and looked and thought, not for the first time, on how close my mother was to me right then. My heart was filled with such a joyful gratitude. And I mentally gather up all the gifts I have, all the anxieties, all the crosses, all those I love- I scoop them up and give them to Jesus. I place it all in His Sacred Heart and recommit my longing to give back to Him some small measure. Let me do all for You Jesus!