Wednesday 16th January 2019

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Anna’s Wish

December 21, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By DEREK BECHER

Anna lay still on her hospital bed, which was tilted slightly upward, while she slept. Her parents sat beside her, with their hands clenched together, sharing a prayer as they watched their only child laboring with each breath. She had only just turned nine, but the brave little girl had fought the dreadful disease with the fervor of a healthy adult, impressing her family and surprising her doctors with her will to live.
Outside the window, snow fell gently in the December night. It was and always had been her favorite time of year. Anna loved the snow; she would lie in its softness and move her arms and legs to make perfect little snow angels. She loved the decorations; Anna marveled at the colorful lights, the flowing ribbons and tinsel, and the lovely trees and wreaths that appeared in every home in her town during the Christmas season.
Anna loved the music; starting in mid-November, she would play their holiday collection over and over, just sitting near their tree and wondering what a great world it would be if the music played the whole year through.
But most of all, Anna loved the peace of the Christmas season — the stillness in the air, the way strangers greeted each other with friendly smiles and sincere holiday wishes, and the story of the first Christmas. She often dreamed what a calm, serene evening it must have been that night in Bethlehem, when the Infant Jesus came into the world as the greatest gift of all. Indeed, Christmas had been one of Anna’s reasons for living, and as the minutes ticked away in the early morning hours of December 24, she secretly prayed that she would live to see one more Christmas Day.
As dawn broke, Anna’s eyes opened to the smiling and comforting faces of her parents, who fought to hide their fear and sadness. Anna struggled to swallow some water as the breakfast hours came and disappeared, and through the afternoon, she slid in and out of a sleep that helped to ease the pain she had felt during these last weeks.
The afternoon advanced, though each moment felt like a lifetime for Anna’s parents, as they watched hopelessly as their child’s light dimmed before them. Darkness fell again and seemed to suck the very light out of their room, through the window. Anna woke for a time, smiling especially when she noticed a light snowfall outside the window; it was a perfect Christmas Eve, she thought. And then, with the strength that had often surprised her doctors, Anna spoke softly to her parents, happily remembering her few past Christmases, and sharing her favorite memories with them.
From the colorful decorations, to the wonderful music, to the fun outside in the snow, to singing Christmas carols together, and to the surprise of Christmas morning, Anna recalled Christmas moments like they had happened just yesterday. Her parents were astonished with her memory, and their eyes dampened with tears as they too remembered the Christmas moments they had fondly shared with their daughter.
Anna then surprised them with a question, asking, “Daddy, is there a Santa Claus in Heaven?” He looked deeply into her eyes as both he and his wife gently held their daughter’s hands. After thinking for a moment, he said, “Of course, Anna. Santa is everywhere, and he brings joy both to children on Earth and in Heaven. He’ll be so happy to see you,” he added, with a lump in his throat.
Anna closed her eyes as her beautiful smile lit up the discoloration that the disease had brought to her once bright, young face. Truly, she beamed with the thought of meeting Santa. She lay back then and fell asleep.
Just then, the green line that had alternately zigzagged up and down on the monitor beside her bed stayed flat, and a steady beeping sound filled the room. Anna’s parents wept as they realized what had happened, also knowing that their daughter would not experience the excitement of another Christmas morning.

A Christmas Present

Like a dream, Anna felt herself walking down a long hallway. With her hospital gown still on, she looked like an angel as she disappeared into the glow of a white light, with the feeling of peacefulness sweeping through her. As she emerged from the other side of the light, a man approached her, wearing a white, flowing robe. A thick, but neat beard covered his face, and his eyes shone with a loving gentleness.
As he approached her, Anna asked the man, “Mister, are you Santa Claus?” He smiled at her innocent question, and with a soft voice, he replied, “My child, there is a Santa in Heaven, but I am not that man. He has a white beard, you see, and his outfit is red. But he is a friend of mine, since we both love to bring joy to children.”
Anna smiled then, knowing who the man in front of her was. But her eyes lit up even more, as He said, “Hold my hand, and come with me. I have a present for you.”
In an instant, Anna found herself standing alone outside a crowded inn, near a simple, wooden manger. A gathering of animals either stood or lay in front of her, and she heard the gentle cooing sound of a baby. The baby’s mother and father knelt beside his crib, which was filled with straw and covered with a thin blanket. As a bright star gleamed high above them, Anna realized she was witnessing the first Christmas. All around the world from which she had just come, people were arising to celebrate the very event that she was now witnessing.
Quietly then, after gently petting each of the animals, Anna walked up to the crib, bent over, and gave the Child a soft kiss on the forehead. Mary and Joseph smiled at her, nodding, and she then backed away to let them admire their little boy.
Anna then found herself again standing at the end of the hallway. Behind her, the bright light continued to glow, and in front of her, the friendly man with the beard stood calmly, smiling.
As he looked down upon her, the man said, “Anna, your heart is filled with love, but your body is ill; still, your love for children and for animals is needed in the world. I love you and I’ll miss you, but I want you to go back to your parents; they need your inner strength. Please, keep Christmas in your heart, as you always do, and share its beauty with everyone you meet. You will wake again in your hospital bed, and before long, you will be healthy once more. Remember, I am always with you; help the needy children of the world to learn this, too.”
With those words, and his caring smile, Anna felt herself moving backward down the hallway, disappearing behind the glowing white light. At the same moment, the steady beeping sound that accompanied the solid green line on the monitor beside her bed became interrupted with pauses of silence. Just a few moments after hanging their heads in grief, Anna’s parents turned quickly from the bed and stared at the monitor, with disbelief. They then felt a barely noticeable squeeze from the fingers of their daughter’s hands, which they still held. They turned toward her face in time to see her eyelids flicker, while at the same time, just minutes after midnight, she softly offered a faint, “Merry Christmas.”
It was a Christmas miracle in the truest sense. Anna’s secret prayer to see one more Christmas Day had been answered; indeed, she had seen and felt the serenity of the most blessed of Christmas Days, just as she had imagined, and now she had been granted many more. Her parents hugged their daughter joyfully, together, and they rejoiced at the best gift they could have received.
Together, they spent Christmas in the hospital, and it would be many days before Anna would recover enough to go home. But true to the man she met in Heaven, Anna grew up to care for children, and she brought four of her own into the world. And every Christmas Eve, with her little ones snuggled beside her, Anna told the story of the first Christmas, without a book; for she had been there, and the memory stayed clear with her, forever.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Right now the most likely path toward reform in the Church-- intervention of government authority-- could lead to disaster. If only a “morally intrepid few” bishops, here and in Rome, could call for and make public acts of repentance, we might yet avoid that danger.

Cardinal Burke, in two interviews, calls current Vatican response to abuse crisis "more confusing than anything"; calls upon those responsible for the McCarrick scandal to resign. Speaks about a group in USCCB pushing for LGBT agenda. @TheWandererNews

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

Cardinal Burke said that Pope Benedict was 'very clear' on the matter of abuse.

www.lifesitenews.com

Load More...

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke told German TV in a January 8 interview that Pope Francis’ response to the abuse crisis is “confusing.” Cardinal Burke stated that Pope Benedict was “very clear on this [matter of abuse],”…Continue Reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trashes Pro-Life People: You’re “Not in Line With Society”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s radically pro-abortion prime minister, blasted pro-life advocates Wednesday amid a nation-wide outrage about barring pro-life groups from a federal grant program. “An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion,…Continue Reading

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be…Continue Reading

Trudeau to issue new coin commemorating decriminalizaton of gay sex

OTTAWA, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has granted the Royal Mint permission to release a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality. Trudeau’s government approved the coin…Continue Reading

CARDINAL CUPICH KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR DISSIDENT PRIESTS’ CONFERENCE

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Blase Cupich is slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for a notorious dissident priests’ organization. The annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will take place in June 2019, and…Continue Reading

Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differences

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican spokesman and his deputy resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure. A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg…Continue Reading

Chinese city bans public displays of Christmas, cites ‘clean city’ as reason

LANGFANG, China, December 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A city in China has issued a sweeping ban on Christmas-related decorations, public celebrations, and advertisements, claiming it’s necessary to keep the city clean for an upcoming awards contest. Christmas is not an…Continue Reading

Priest: Pro-LGBT rainbow rosary promoted by Fr. Martin ‘comes from the pit of hell’

December 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – During a radio interview about the pro-homosexual “social justice” rosary that Fr. James Martin has been promoting, Fr. Donald Calloway prayed for Martin’s “radical conversion” and that the Jesuit might “repent of the things he has…Continue Reading

President Trump’s Decision to Defund Planned Parenthood of $50-60 Million Likely to Win in Court

President Donald Trump appears likely to win a court battle against the abortion giant Planned Parenthood. At issue are new guidelines for Title X grants, which fund family planning programs across the country. In February, the U.S. Department of Health and…Continue Reading

Pro-LGBT priest promotes ‘rainbow’ rosary with prayers for ‘full acceptance’ of gay couples

December 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-LGBT Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin is promoting on social media a rosary with “rainbow” beads for one of the decades which are to be used, the rosary’s creators say, to pray for the “full…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò denies claims he defrauded his brother

ROME, December 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has denied claims he defrauded his brother, and has sought to clarify an October court ruling ordering him to pay his brother €1.8 million in inheritance. Many believe the ruling is being…Continue Reading

Vatican’s former doctrine chief: ‘LGBT’ has ‘no place’ in Church documents

VATICAN CITY, November 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An influential cardinal says that pro-homosexual terminology such as “LGBT” has no place in the documents of the Roman Catholic Church. In a recent interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, formerly the Prefect of the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Archbishop Viganò urges McCarrick to publicly repent in new open letter

ROME, January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — With a tone of fraternal and priestly charity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has written an open letter to former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, encouraging him to publicly repent of his sins and thus to save his soul. In the brief letter, dated January 13, 2019 and published in English and Italian (see full text below), Archbishop Viganò has also sought to persuade McCarrick that he has a unique opportunity to greatly benefit the Churc

U.S. Catholics losing trust in clergy, survey finds

Washington D.C., Jan 11, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Trust in the clergy has declined sharply over the last year, a new Gallup poll shows. Only 31 percent of American Catholics now rate the honesty or ethical standards of the clergy as “high” or “very high.” The figures, released Friday, show a drop of 18 points since 2017. Among American Protestants, the same question produced a relatively stable number of 48 percent, a drop of…Continue Reading

Vatican News pays tribute to Cuba’s brutal communist revolution, then deletes post

ROME, January 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An article at Vatican News, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, disappeared from the Holy See’s website just one day after it appeared on January 1. No explanation was offered for the self-censorship of the article, which marked the rise to power of Fidel Castro and his anti-clerical Marxist government, which has long been marked by grievous human rights violations. The Vatican News article, in…Continue Reading

Wuerl knew McCarrick abuse allegations in 2004

Washington D.C., Jan 10, 2019 / 05:13 pm (CNA).- An allegation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was reported to Cardinal Donald Wuerl in 2004, despite Wuerl’s insistence he knew nothing about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct until 2018. Wuerl forwarded the report to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Thursday. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington confirmed to CNA that an allegation against McCarrick was presented to Wuerl while…Continue Reading

Analysis: The non-trial of Theodore McCarrick

Vatican City, Jan 7, 2019 / 12:30 pm (CNA).- While recent media reports suggest that a trial of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick is underway, Vatican sources have told CNA that his case is not being handled by a full judicial process. Sources at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have confirmed that allegations against McCarrick are being considered through an abbreviated approach called an “administrative penal process.” That decision gives insight into the strengt

Advertisement(2)

The Case Against The Sign Of Peace At Mass

By REY FLORES O Lord Jesus Christ, Who said to Your Apostles: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you,” regarda not my sins but the faith of your Church, and deign to give her peace and unity according to Your will: Who live and reign God, world without end. Amen. — At…Continue Reading

Candor Is Not The Enemy Of Love

By DONALD DeMARCO Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, in his book Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World, makes two most important points when he reminds all those who love life that “candor is not the enemy of love” and that “real hope begins in honesty.” Candor may disturb one’s…Continue Reading

No, This Is Not JFK’s Democratic Party

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House has more women, persons of color, and LGBT members than any House in history — and fewer white males. And Thursday, January 3, the day Rashida Tlaib was sworn in, her hand on a Koran, our first Palestinian-American congresswoman showed us what we may expect. As a…Continue Reading

Are The Knights Of Columbus A Hate Group Now?

By SHAUN KENNEY Democratic Senators Kamala Harris and Maize Hirono have chosen to make membership within the Knights of Columbus a variant of a hate crime. Judicial nominee Brian Buescher’s pro-life bona fides notwithstanding, his cardinal sin against the bureaucracy isn’t his judicial temperament, but rather the fact that he is a practicing Catholic. The…Continue Reading

The Quest Of The Magi And Our Own In 2019

By JAMES MONTI How truly fitting it is that the celebration of the Epiphany, the visit of the Magi, should come at the beginning of January. For just as the Magi set out on a quest “into the unknown” to find and pay homage to a Newborn King they as yet knew not, scarcely imagining…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

His Bride Is The Church

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Cor. 12:4-11 John 2:1-11 In the readings for the past three weeks, the Church has given us the three traditional events which manifested our Lord’s divinity. The word Epiphany means manifestation. These manifestations took place thirty years apart, but were celebrated together because they point…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Wall And Abortion: No Moral Equivalency

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The March for Life event each January draws thousands of pro-life Americans to Washington, D.C., to witness for the weakest and most defenseless among us, preborn boys and girls who cannot speak on behalf of the sacredness of their lives in the face of legalized abortion which, in some cases, threatens their existence at every…Continue Reading

The Authority Of Bishops . . . The Hierarchy Of Orders In The Catholic Church

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 It is a well-known fact that the Church today is going through a crisis, especially in faith, as can be seen as early as 1985 when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger allowed the publication of The Ratzinger Report. I believe that Benedict XVI was the only Pope in Church history whose mind was already well-known…Continue Reading

The Crisis Of Hope In The Modern World

By DON FIER Two opposing vices were identified last week as contrary to the theological virtue of hope: despair and presumption. Despair, on the one hand, goes against Divine Mercy; presumption, on the other hand, goes against Divine Justice. To explain, the renowned Thomist philosopher Dr. Josef Pieper describes hope as “preeminently the virtue of the status viatoris [condition or…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In a recent reply about the appropriateness of giving blessings to those coming to Holy Communion, we said that the practice was an unauthorized innovation that should be discouraged. We have since learned that Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., has instructed his priests and deacons not to give such blessings. Here is his rationale: “I do not…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds are finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Servant Of God Walter Ciszek

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 After living 23 years in Russia in prison camps and various towns in northern Russia, Fr. Walter Ciszek was suddenly given orders to be prepared to go to Moscow. He was never told why he was being transferred to the capital of Russia. When he first arrived, he wondered what was happening. For once, he…Continue Reading