Denver, Colo., Jan 5, 2022 / 11:14 am (CNA).
On Dec. 30, a fast-moving wildfire destroyed approximately 1,000 homes and structures in Louisville, Superior and unincorporated Boulder County. Among those who lost their homes are Kat and Tom Greany of Louisville. When the couple returned to what was left of their home, they found their statue of Mary still standing. Tom Greany wrote the following reflection on what they have been through the last few days, and how their faith in God has remained strong despite everything they have lost.
Hail Full of Grace!
When we arrived at our home, it was completely destroyed. All but five of 55 homes in our neighborhood were. Those that were not were completely unscathed. Very strange. Across the street, a similar picture. To the south, the same. All three neighborhoods gone.
When we climbed down into the smoldering rubble of what had been our home, almost nothing was recognizable. A few pots and pans. Twisted steel I-beams, disconnected from the foundation, had fallen onto the ash. On our front porch we could see the crumbled concrete of the foundation, bricks strewn about. And the beautiful designer front doors themselves melted into a twisted ball. But Mary remained. Covered by black soot on the right half of the statue’s body, she was unscathed. Bricks appeared to have fallen all around her — some probably even hit her. But she didn’t even fall over. At her feet, beneath the debris, are many heart-shaped stones that Kat and I have collected on our many hikes. Reminding us that we have consecrated our lives to Jesus through Mary. And that her Sacred Heart and His will protect and sustain us through anything.
The statue is a symbol. Amid the smoldering ruins that hours earlier had been an inferno, Mary remained. As she will in our lives. Interceding for us through the darkest of times, praying for us to Jesus Christ, her son, Our Lord and Savior. It stings to look at this — our home and all of its contents were lost. The Christmas giving we had celebrated with our sons up in smoke along with everything else they and we owned. The entire neighborhood gone in less than a day.
We did not think for a moment that we would lose our home. On the far side of the Davidson Mesa, away from prairie grass. How would the fire reach our home? Large lots with manicured lawns and little ground cover to burn. How would the fire ignite it? So when the fire department told us to leave we took almost nothing. A safe with important documents and our laptop computers was all we took. Not even a change of clothes or a toothbrush.
Seeing this when we returned was shocking, horrifying. Awareness of the loss stings mightily. But we can only feel the loss as pain because of the extraordinary magnitude of the gifts we had been given in our lives. How richly blessed are we!
God did not torch our homes to teach us a lesson. But through the loss of the home, He gave us an opportunity to experience His comfort through the intercession of His mother. Our mother. Mary. We had just completed a major renovation to the home nine months earlier. It was our dream home. But all of this is temporal. We cannot take it with us. We were blessed to be together, safely away; and to get our cars safely out. And no one can take the faith that is rooted deeply within us, fed by signs such as this that the Holy Family is not only with us; they’re looking out for us. They love us and they care. They pray for us. And they pray for the world in these dark times we live in.
I had asked for only one thing for Christmas: That The Lord would make my family holy. Maybe that starts with stripping away our possessions and becoming fully reliant on him. “If you want to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Mt 19:21)
Hail Full of Grace! The Lord is with you.
This reflection was first published by Denver Catholic Jan. 3, and is reprinted at Catholic News Agency with permission.
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