Fonticulus Fides

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More on the Miraculous Infant of Prague

I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to get all this into writing, but I don’t want to delay it any longer.

As I blogged previously, I had been praying to the Miraculous Infant of Prague for help with our financial needs. As the Lord is apt to do, He answered my prayers in a big way.

The financial need has been weighing heavily on us for some time. Sales are down at the store where my husband works for a variety of reasons, including the opening of a new, rival store in the south part of town and my husband’s boss’s refusal to (a) advertise, (b) get good merchandise into the store and (c) price things appropriately. Long story short, my husband has been making anywhere from $200 - $300 less per month than he used to, and on our tight budget, that’s begging for disaster.

We figured that we needed to eliminate some bills that we’ve been paying. I’ve been using all my income from the paper to pay off a nasty dental bill (emergency crown that ended up being charged at emergency rates plus 16% interest every month after they very nicely told me that they were happy as long as I sent them something every month – no wonder!), and various doctor bills, mostly incurred by Lola’s antics. But even with those two bills paid off (early June), we were having trouble making ends meet, especially because the paper only comes out every other week all summer, so I have fewer stories and lower income myself.

So, I had this prayer card for the Miraculous Infant of Prague and I threw myself into a Novena. Almost immediately, my husband made a little extra cash on some freelance stuff, which tided us over. Then, out of the blue, my mom called.

Okay, backtrack. I don’t have an exceptionally great relationship with my parents, mostly because they have chosen not to welcome my husband into the family, and also because they have pretty much rejected my Christianity (partly my fault because I came on like a bulldozer when I was a brand-new evangelical back in the day, and they can’t forgive me for it).

My mom is not Catholic, but she was raised Catholic by my grandmother. My grandmother died in May 1997, well before we became Catholic. Grandma had several talents, including cooking, needlework, raising African Violets and thrift. So while I was doing my Novena, it occurred to me to ask my grandmother to pray for us, too, since she was good with a buck.

More backtracking – I’m not very good with houseplants. I used to be, but ever since I had Zooey, every plant I’ve ever owned has died a horrible death due to neglect. My mom isn’t any better – when my grandmother had a stroke in 1996 and went into the nursing home, she expected mom to care for her African Violets, and those all died from neglect, too. So when my husband and I went to visit her in the home, we brought her a couple of new ones, one with white flowers, one purple. After she died a few months later, I brought those same violets back to Nebraska. One died a couple of years ago, and the other has soldiered on, ministered to occasionally by my mother-in-law, who would water, repot, drip in fertilizer, etc. for me when she came to babysit. It never bloomed, and I couldn’t even tell if it was the purple one or the white one that had survived.

About the time I started the Novena, I was really neglecting that sole surviving African Violet! I even had it sitting over the kitchen sink, where I wash dishes every day, thinking that would help me remember to care for it. Every once in a while, I put a little water in its pot out of guilt after I was done washing dishes, but it was really down to one crumpled leaf and some dead ones when I started praying for financial relief. I remember pulling off the dead leaves and seeing only a little green and thinking I’d better water it or it was going to die for sure.

So anyway, like I said, my mom called. She said that she was worried about our finances. There was “a little money” left from what my grandmother had given her, and Mom thought that she could pay off one of our bills and help reduce our monthly obligation.

Well, I have to tell you, my jaw hit the floor. My mom hasn’t been inclined to share her mother’s money with any of us in this way (she does by gifts for the children with it). And here I was, praying to God for financial help, and praying to my grandmother for her prayerful support, and the answer came like this!?!?!? Grandma’s money?!?! From my mom? Whom I’ve been slightly estranged from ever since I was married 12 years ago?!?!?!?

Then I turned around and looked at the African Violet. Here, see for yourself. It’s healthy. It’s full of blossoms – twelve of them, actually (there is more on the reverse). And each blossom is gigantic. That’s a 4-inch pot, so they each must be 1.5” across, and I’ve never seen an African Violet with blossoms bigger than 3/4” or maybe 1”.

I took it as a sign, a sign from Heaven that my grandmother is there, living a new life with Jesus. Which was important to me, because I have been praying for my grandmother’s soul and feeling very guilty that none of us were Catholic when she passed, so we were all very negligent in praying for her or having Masses said for her. And maybe even it’s a sign that we’ll have new life in our financial situation (I’ve been praying for either a new job for my husband, better revenue at his current job, or better revenue from one of his other ventures or just whatever Jesus wants to do!)

And the phone call from mom, I took that as a sign that God still speaks to my mom’s heart, even though she often seems to reject him (from my puny understanding of the situation). That made me feel a ton better, because I often pray that my parents will be reconciled to the Church now that they are entering in the final decades of their lives.

I discussed the bills with Mom and she and Dad decided to help us pay off two bills. My husband’s truck, which was going to be paid off in October, and a nasty credit card, which was small but sold to one of those huge banks that levied 29.99% interest on us just because they could. Together, those two payments totaled $250 or so a month for us in obligations. Paying them off felt great, and I am so thankful to God, to my grandma and to my parents for enabling us to make that happen.

Another freelance check came and is enabling us to paint our house – it badly needed it, with paint peeling like crazy and exposed wood. So it wasn’t just aesthetics, it was preserving our home. (Although I must say, the new paint looks spectacular -- we’ve gone from a nasty flesh-color with chocolate brown trim to Sherwin-Williams Avocado with Muslin trim and Burgundy accents, all bought on sale, 25% off!).

We’re still not out of the woods yet, unfortunately. Tuition to our parish school is due next week, and we don’t have it. I can probably get a reprieve until the first day of school on Aug. 24th, but that’s not a ton of time. Still no business coming into the shop, but I’m still praying for relief…

…although my prayer card of the Miraaulous Infant of Prague has disappeared. Lola probably walked off with it. She loves it and I always catch her sleeping with it.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll say a prayer of thanksgiving on our behalf (can’t say enough of them ourselves). Thanks be to God!!!



  • That's a great story, Sparki. I have had a couple of similiar flower-related events in my life. I said the prayer of thanksgiving you asked for. Hope the tuition money comes in soon.

    By Anonymous ro, at 9:17 PM  

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