As a child rests in his mother's arms…

Two terrific “must read” stories, one at the start of a life, and the other at life’s culmination, bring to mind verse 2 of Psalm 131:

Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
A weaned child on its mother’s breast,
even so is my soul.

First up, consider the mother who saved her daughter’s life by cuddling her in anticipated death:

When Carolyn Isbister put her 20oz baby on her chest for a cuddle, she thought that it would be the only chance she would ever have to hold her.

Doctors had told the parents that baby Rachel only had only minutes to live because her heart was beating once every ten seconds and she was not breathing.

Isbister remembers: I didn’t want her to die being cold. So I lifted her out of her blanket and put her against my skin to warm her up. Her feet were so cold. It was the only cuddle I was going to have with her, so I wanted to remember the moment.” Then something remarkable happened. The warmth of her mother’s skin kick started Rachael’s heart into beating properly, which allowed her to take little breaths of her own.

Read the whole thing, and then when you have finished, and you have marveled at all we do not know, all that doctors do not know and the mystery and power of the human life-force, click on the next story, which you will want to see and read for yourself.

Why’s the smile of Elder Joseph…from Eternity:

The photograph of the reposed, who is smiling not only with his lips but with all the expression of his face, made a great impression on people, which we can see from the articles and comments in numerous web-sites.

One can indeed come across dead people with a glowing face, a peacful expression, but with never a smile. On the one hand all the spiritual fathers say that the time of death is horrifying for man. On the other hand we read in the book of the Sayings of the desert Fathers that even the most advanced ones , out of humility, did not let down their guard before enter eternal life, where there is no longer any danger.

In addition, Elder Joseph had a major heart problem and he was very debilitated by this illness. So how did he repose smiling?

The answer is: NO, he didn’t repose smiling, but HE SMILED AFTER HIS REPOSE.

The picture is remarkable; it gives goosebumps in its serenity and content, truly a beatific smile that reflects a child at rest in the beloved and trusted Parent. What a picture; what a story. It reminds me very much of Corrie Ten Boom’s recounting of her sister Betsy’s death in her book, The Hiding Place. Imprisoned at Ravensbruck for the crime of hiding Jews during WWII, Corrie watched her sister become progressively ill and weak until finally she died, and in death her expression showed none of the ravages of their deprivations, but a graceful, glorious serenity and beauty.

Two stories to do the heart, mind and spirit some good. Thanks of course to the indispensible New Advent, and reader Kay.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Stephie

    All I can think of is Psalm 116:15: Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

  • Tom Carty

    Thank you for two faith affirming stories!Even a tough old buzzard like me can be touched by signs that, even in these times, the good news lives on.

  • http://WindowsXP Hugh P. McCarthy

    Please, Anchoress, do something for your sidebar. The blue printing on the grey backgroung that lists other blogs is very nearly illegible. I love reading your blog, but this is a real obstacle.
    Love you since back when I advocated that you institute a “tin cup.”

  • http://mts1.wordpress.com/ mts1

    The article about the monk was careful to point out that the smile was a full facial reaction – not just the lips pulling back in a macabre smile, but a cheeky, beaming smile of contentment.

  • kelleybee

    God bless you for this wonderful post!


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