By Tony Rossi, Director of Communications
Lent 2021 may officially be over on Easter Sunday, but for many people, it feels like Lent 2020 never actually ended due to the hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Still, if we open our eyes and hearts, we can see and experience the light of Christ brought about by the Resurrection. That’s what happened with Catholic author and radio host Katie Prejean McGrady.
In August 2020, Katie, her husband Tommy, and their three-year-old daughter Rose moved in with her grandfather because they had to evacuate their Louisiana home due to Hurricane Laura. And, oh yeah, Katie was nine months pregnant at the time. The storm destroyed much of their town, so three weeks later, Katie gave birth in a different hospital than she had planned – though, thankfully, baby Clare was healthy.
Several weeks later, the McGradys returned home, only to have to evacuate again due to another hurricane. When they came back after that one, they discovered more damage to their home. Katie felt fed up. During an interview with me on “Christopher Closeup,” she recalled, “[I was] shaking my fist at the sky going, ‘What did we do to deserve this?...We have gone where You’ve asked us to go, we have done what You’ve asked us to do, we have been open to life, we have been generous with what we have, and You’re still going to come and topple the town and destroy our schools?!’”
Then, Katie felt the presence of God, reminding her that He is always faithful, even when His goodness is hard to see. “He will hand us things that we certainly can’t handle on our own,” Katie explained, “but that’s an even deeper and more challenging invitation to continue to trust…I can’t say that there haven’t been plenty of moments in prayer where I have raged and screamed and cried…So I’m a work in progress in figuring that out.”
Raging at God doesn’t have to be a bad thing, however. Katie observed, “I think [God] would rather us tell Him how we feel than hide it. If I know my daughter is upset, I don’t want her to run off and hide in her bedroom. I want her to sit there and tell me: I’m sad, I’m frustrated, I’m lonely…The same thing is true of God. God wants to know [if] I’m upset, I’m confused, I’m angry. Don’t be afraid to tell Him.”
Despite the times of darkness, Katie was able to look back at those events and find God’s presence as well, through her experiences with her grandfather. He had been living alone for more than a year, since her grandmother had to move into an assisted living facility due to dementia. And she died in June 2020. While the McGradys lived with him, he had a fuller house than he’d had in ages! Katie said, “There was so much life in that house for those eight weeks! Every morning, he would wake up – and he and my daughter…would sit on the back porch…and eat an oatmeal cream pie for breakfast…They became best buds…I got to bring my newborn daughter into the house…[My grandfather] was so attentive and loving…There was so much joy in being there.”
Katie and her family are continuing to bring him that joy by visiting often, and FaceTiming with the kids on other days. Her story reminds us that we can be Christ for one another. Consider some ways that you can do the same. Happy Easter!
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