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Grace Born from Sorrow
U. S. A. | NEWS | NEWS
How a newborn baby brought his godfather closer to God.

David Flanigan
David Flanagan in his first and only day of life on Earth.

October 1, 2010. Atlanta, Georgia. When God enters into a life and begins to transform it, there is no predicting what other lives he will touch through it. Sometimes grace breaks through at unexpected times, and through the most unlikely of instruments. And when it does, there is no doubting that God is the one at work.

Regnum Christi member Laurie Flanigan’s journey back to the Catholic faith was mediated by unexpected instruments as well. After bringing her back to faith in God through a group of elderly women in a faith-sharing group, he used a Baptist woman to convince her to stay in the Catholic Church.

After returning to the sacraments, she gradually grew in prayer and knowledge of her faith, eventually becoming a catechism teacher at her local parish. Before too long, she had started up a Familia group in Cincinnati and Eucharistic adoration in her parish.

Then she began to grow in love for souls, all souls. She began offering small sacrifices—tiredness, little treats and indulgences that she used to enjoy—for the souls God wanted to save.

“Little did I know he was preparing me for the cross he had waiting for me to carry… the loss of our son David,” she said.

A complicated pregnancy

David was her sixth child. The pregnancy went smoothly until the 11th week, when she woke up in the middle of the night in a puddle of blood. An emergency morning visit to the doctor’s office revealed that the baby was fine, so the doctor told her to continue on as if nothing were wrong.

After several bouts of severe hemorrhaging, she ended up spending most of the rest of her pregnancy in the hospital.

There, she resolved to use her time in prayer, offering it all up to God for the good of other souls while receiving the Eucharist daily from the hospital chaplain.

During the last three weeks before David’s birth, she felt moved to offer up all of her sufferings for one person: her brother Scott.

Because of the lifestyle he had chosen to live, and her newfound knowledge of the faith, their relationship had become somewhat strained; however, they both continued to reach out to each other.

On Thanksgiving Day, her brother came to visit her in the hospital with a gift: a miniature Christmas tree with lights.

“I treasured this tree because everyday as I turned it on it was a constant reminder for
flanigan family
The Flanigan family.
me to pray and offer the day up for him and his conversion,” she says.

An unusual inspiration

When Laurie first found out that she was pregnant, she felt the Lord was telling her to ask Scott to be the child’s godfather.

Logically speaking, the choice made no sense. He despised the Catholic Church. Her new love for the Church made it very difficult for her to understand why the Lord would ask this of her. To make matters worse, Scott had once told her that he didn’t see the point in praying for their own mother, who was sick, because “prayer doesn’t make any difference.”

But the inspiration was so strong that she decided to give it a chance.

“I told the Lord that if he worked a miracle in the next nine months, I would ask him,” she says.

When heavy contractions came on the morning of December 3rd, she was only 26 weeks along with David. Nothing the doctors tried could stop the contractions. Internally, Laurie prayed for the Lord to let the doctor know when to give up and take the baby.

A few moments later, the doctor came into the room and said it was time to deliver David.

“I remember them putting me on a very narrow table… so narrow that my arms wouldn’t fit.  They pulled boards out from each side and asked me to lay my arms on them. There I was with my arms stretched out like Christ on the cross. All my offering and sacrificing the last nine weeks came to completion as I laid stretched out on the table. It was then that I knew whatever happened would be awesome because it was his plan.”

It was 3:00 in the afternoon.

David was born at 3:30, weighing 2 pounds, 5 ounces. This new little life was with them for just 13 days before the doctors observed that his intestines were dying and that he urgently needed surgery.

David was quickly transferred to another hospital, where the surgeons removed part of his intestine. Then came the time of waiting to see if another surgery would be needed.

The next day, Laurie felt the Lord asking her to ask Scott to be the godfather right away. There was no more time to wait. Worried that it was too early, she asked the Lord if her brother were really ready to take on the responsibility.

The answer she got back was: “Trust in me… trust in me.”

The first surgery had not been successful, so David was scheduled for another at 3:00 pm. If he did not recover well from this second surgery, there was nothing more they could do.

“I went in to see him,” she recalls. “There was my little David lying there, arms stretched out in slings like Jesus on the cross. Now my son was united to Christ’s suffering and sacrifice.  I no longer prayed for a miracle for David to survive; I prayed for God’s will to be done.”

Without waiting any longer, she called her brother Scott and told him about David’s condition. Then she asked him for two favors. The first was to be David’s godfather. The second was to pray for him. As they both wept over the phone, he told her that he had already been praying.

“That was God’s way of showing me Scott’s soul was slowly transforming,” she says.

Saying goodbye

David did not recover well after the second surgery. Now his remaining time on earth was measured in minutes.

The battle over, he was disconnected from all the machines and moved into a private room with the immediate family. It was time, the doctor said, for David to be connected to his family.

“Everyone said their goodbyes and our sweet David died so beautifully and peacefully in my arms,” Laurie recalls. “There was even a smile on his face.”

As painful and sorrowful as it was to lose her son, Laurie knew that this was God’s plan. Somehow, by a design of his own, he wanted David to be an intercessor from heaven for the family—especially for his own godfather, Scott.
   
David lived for less than a month, but his sacrifice, joined to his mother’s, was fruitful.

For Laurie, he was—and is—a blessing from God, a saint who intercedes for them from heaven.

“The souls he transformed here on earth in the short time he was with us were more than most of us will transform in our lifetime.  But now in heaven, all the more powerful will he be!”

This is the first article in a series about God’s action in the lives of lay Regnum Christi members who turned to him in prayer. If you have a story to share, please contact us at this link.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2010-10-01


 
 


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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.


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