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Hug the Cross

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By Judi Bonner

After my mom got married in 1957, doctors discovered that she had several ovarian cysts, and they told her that she would probably never have children. They removed one ovary completely and parts of another. Instead of falling into despair, my mom embraced her cross with hope.

She prayed to the saint of the impossible, the Apostle St. Jude Thaddaeus. She promised she would make him the patron saint of her child when she had one. Finally, on May 13, 1962 — Mother's Day — I was born. She named me Judith, or "Judi" for short. My mother eventually had two more daughters. God always finds a way to work things out.

Mary has always been a special friend to me. As young as 5 years old, I prayed to her whenever I was fearful, especially when I had nightmares. She always calmed me down. When I was in my late 20s, I realized my birthday was the same day as the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. I started to pray the Rosary regularly and tried to learn more about it.

Now, I am a Rosary warrior. I pray for myself, but especially for others. Being a Rosary warrior means finding ways to encourage others to take up this form of prayer. Teaching people about the Rosary is a great way to evangelize.

During a recent trip from my home in Canton, Georgia, to Pensacola, Florida, I went out each morning to pray the Rosary on the beach, letting the tide splash over my bare feet. On a Tuesday, I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries. When I contemplated each mystery, I tried to apply it to my own life.

On this day, I was wishing for a piece of driftwood to take home. None were in sight except a big log I walked past. On the fourth Sorrowful Mystery, I was thanking Jesus for all His sacrifices for us and remembering that in the movie "The Passion of Christ" observers saw Jesus not just carry the Cross, but actually hug the Cross. I thought I should do that. I should not complain about my cross in life but hug it like Christ. Then as I stood barefoot in the sand, a wave washed over my feet.

A small piece of driftwood hit my big toe. I picked it up and decided this is my touchstone to remember to hug the cross.

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Elizabeth - May 28, 2018

What a beautiful story!