A Treasured & Entrusted Child — Funeral Homily for Adelaide Marie Borofka

The dominant culture in the days of Jesus’ public ministry oftentimes did not treasure children. A firstborn baby boy might have value to a Roman father, but a baby who was a girl, or malformed or disabled, or simply unwanted might be killed or abandoned in the woods, exposed to die. The early Christians, however, rejected infanticide and adopted foundlings, raising them as their own. This is reflected by a first century Christian text called The Didache (also known as “The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations”) which commands: “You shall not procure an abortion, nor destroy a newborn child…” From where did the Christians get this countercultural concern for all children, born and unborn? From our Lord Jesus Christ, of course.

Adelaide Borofka feetThough children are small and weak, Jesus says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” They have no wealth or worldly power, but Jesus says, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus, calling a child over and putting his arms around it, says, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus says that children are to be treasured and loved like himself: “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” Jesus says, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” In just the same way as a good shepherd hates to lose even one of his many sheep, Jesus says, “it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” Indeed, ‘Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world.’

So even when a child dies without baptism, we can entrust them to God’s mercy with great hope, that the love of God which has brought us into being will transform the painful mysteries of the Cross into a reunion of Easter joy. In the midst of any tragedy, we always have a general Christian hope that God will bring good out of what is bad. But in regards to little Adelaide it appears that God has granted us a special, particular consolation. This is Veronica’s story, which she has given me permission to tell you, and which she wants me to share for your benefit.

On Easter Sunday, Veronica began to feel severe abdominal pain. She was admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire with a blood pressure so high that she was in grave danger of suffering a stroke, even dying. Then, through an ultrasound, it was discovered that the child within her, the child she lovingly carried for seven months, no longer had a heartbeat. Around 2 AM on Monday, April 5th, while she was in great physical and emotional pain, her husband Zach and their gathered family members were praying a Rosary with her. Veronica was praying along with them, off-and-on, as she could manage. And in the midst of all this painful suffering, as she paused with her eyes closed, she saw something. Even though Veronica is certain that she was awake at that moment, she beheld something remarkable. Before I describe Veronica’s experience and what she saw, I will speak briefly about private revelation.

As Catholics we believe that Jesus is not dead, but risen and living. We believe that his saints in heaven are all alive with him. We believe that Jesus and his saints and angels know us, that they care about us, and that they continue to lovingly help us here on earth. We believe visions, messages, and miracles still happen in our day. And sometimes instances of these phenomena are judged by the Church’s authority to be “worthy of belief.” However, unlike public revelation (which consists of Sacred Scripture and the apostolic teachings in the Deposit of Faith) private revelation, even when officially recognized by the Church, is not binding to be believed by all the faithful. I am not personally qualified to make any official judgment for the Church about private revelations, but I tell you: if I did not personally believe that what Veronica saw was of a heavenly origin, I would not be about to share it with you.

Veronica, with her eyes closed during that Rosary in the hospital, saw a woman standing before her bed. There were pretty, puffy, white clouds behind the woman and to each side of her. And rays of sunlight from the left peaked through gaps in the clouds. The woman wore a dazzling, bright white gown. The fabric of her beautiful, full-length dress looked like satin. It had a modest scoop neckline and sleeves that went down to her wrists. The woman also wore a blue, cathedral-length veil of traditional lace, which extended down to the floor. She was dressed similarly to a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Germany which Veronica’s grandfather had given her years before; a statue Veronica used to play with as a girl.

The woman had long, curly, dark hair, snow white skin, and beautiful blue eyes which gazed at Veronica. The expression on the woman’s face was very pleasant, calming and peaceful, concerned for Veronica and reassuring. Veronica says “she looked absolutely beautiful and gorgeous,” such that, “no model could compare.” The woman’s lips moved as she slowly spoke with a very feminine, light and calming, beautiful voice, which echoed with some reverberation. And this is what she said: “Veronica, do not be afraid. I will take care of this child as I have taken care of my Son, Jesus. Do not worry and do not cry.

In this vision, Veronica held in her hands her swaddled baby, wrapped in the gray swaddling cloth she had bought for its birth. (Veronica did not yet know whether she had a girl or a boy, since Adelaide had not yet been delivered.) Hearing the Virgin Mary’s words gave Veronica great relief, for who could be better than the Blessed Mother to care for her lost child? Veronica raised up her arms in the vision, completely entrusting her child to Mary. Mysteriously, Mary remained where she stood but seemed to come closer. Veronica says, “I handed her my child and then she was gone.” The entire vision was very brief, perhaps just ten or fifteen seconds, about the length of one Hail Mary prayer.

Veronica was left with feelings of peace, calm, reassurance that everything was OK, and wonder that the Blessed Mother would make herself known to her. Veronica did not share her story right away—she was worried people might think she was crazy—but after this vision she began comforting those gathered around her bedside. When her mother began to cry, Veronica told her, “Don’t cry, you don’t have to cry.” As St. Paul told the Corinthians, “[God] encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Veronica is saddened, of course, still grieving and mourning, but not crushed or depressed like one might expect. She always had faith in God and Jesus Christ, but this experience has reinforced it, and she desires the same growth in Christian faith for you. “There’s beauty in the suffering,” she told me, adding, “I just want everyone to know what I know and to feel the peace that I feel with God and his love.” This the Lord Jesus Christ’s wish for you, too. Clouds may limit our vision in this world, preventing us from seeing all that God is up to, but even in the hardest times rays of light still shine through. This light comes from the Lord Jesus who loves us, who treasures little Adelaide and who also treasures you.

One Response to “A Treasured & Entrusted Child — Funeral Homily for Adelaide Marie Borofka”

  1. Bonnie LaGesse Says:

    This is beautiful. Blessings for you Veronica and Zach.

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