Thursday, July 31, 2008

For the Glory

Greetings to all! As I sat down at noon mass today I did not immediately kneel down and pray like everyone else does. I just sat down and began praying then I distracted myself because I began thinking I know people are thinking, “uhm well look at him not praying.” You see in the movie that is going on in my head I am the lead actor and everyone talks about me all the time. And then I thought to myself, you know what St. Ignatius of Loyola like to pray laying on his back. You know there is more than one way to pray and I don’t particularly like kneeling down to pray because it is hard for me to concentrate. Well, wouldn’t you know that today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He has always been one of my favorite Saints and I really appreciate and enjoy his style of prayer and his spiritual writing.

When I was attending Franciscan University I was in a Household, which is similar to a Fraternity, just take the keg parties and replace them with praise and worship and you get the picture. The name of the Household I was in was Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam or AMDG for short. This latin phrase translates to All for the Greater Glory of God and is the motto of the Jesuit Religious Order order founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola. What I am getting at here is that St. Ignatius has for a long time held a very special place in my heart and in my spirituality. If you have never heard the story of his conversion it is an amazing one, I will give you the Cliff’s notes version and then you can go read the rest later. Basically, he was this big military hotshot who got shot in the legs with a CANNONBALL, did you hear that? Not shot by a bullet, but a real CANNONBALL! Needless to say he was laid up for months recovering from this awful experience. The only books they had were the bible and the lives of the saints and so he read them just to do it. Well, needless to say God moved in his heart in a very powerful way and St. Ignatius became one of the most holy, brilliant, and dedicated followers of Christ.

That got me to thinking in Mass today about the words ALL for the greater glory of God. Not just some of life, but all of life. The good and the bad. The pretty and the ugly. The neatly packaged and the falling out of the box. Ali and I were talking the other night about how so many people, both that we have never met and those very close to us, that God has impacted them through Cate’s short life and our family’s difficult journey and what is also amazing is that you all are STILL here with us. I truly thought that after Cate’s passing the story would “end” for a lot of people, but it hasn’t. Many of you have sent beautiful emails sharing very intimate parts of your own journey with Ali and I. You have shared how God has moved in your hearts in some VERY powerful ways. Some of you have made life changing decisions and some of you God has really renewed your faith, your prayer life, and your family life. We miss Cate, do not get me wrong, there are not many minutes that go by in a day where my thoughts do not turn to her and her absence, but what I told Ali the other night was that a quote from St. Therese of Lisieux has been stuck in my head when my thoughts turn to Cate. St. Therese said, “I will spend my Heaven doing good upon earth” and I truly believe that this is what Cate is doing and will continue to do. God is using ALL for His greater Glory, even Cate's death and the mourning that our family is having to endure. Just as He used the aweful situation that St. Ignatius found himself in after being shot with a Cannonball for His greater Glory, so too is He using this aweful situation that our little family finds itself in for His greater glory.

There is a song that many of you have left the lyrics to as a comment on the blog by the group Mercy Me. The name of the song is “Bring the Rain” and in the chorus of the song they say, “Bring me anything that brings You glory, And I know there'll be days When this life brings me pain But if that's what it takes to praise You Jesus, bring the rain.” Our family will continue to strive to give God ALL the Glory in ALL situations, and so Lord if that is what it takes to praise you, then Bring the Rain! We love you all and ask that you remain with us, and we thank you for continuing to standing by us through rain. May we all strive to live for the greater Glory of God. St. Ignatius…Pray for us!

Much Love, The Cantrells

If any of you out there still want prayer cards we still have some left. We have sent out a lot but we still have some left and if you want one we want you to have one! Just send me your mailing address to and don’t worry I will not start sending you junk mail:)


marsha said...

Charlie, I just received this in an email and wanted to share it with you.

When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly!

Love you guys, Marsha

Nicole said...

Thank you for your thoughts. And yes, many of us are still here, still with you and still holding you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

stephanie said...

After I finish reading your blog posts I just want to give you a hug. Consider this a virtual hug.
- Stephanie

Jolene said...

Charlie and Ali,
Yes we are still with you guys daily. When I look at what you are going through, I appreciate my daughter and husband more. May God continue to use your family to help others. God bless!


karen said...

Charlie, You don't know me, but I feel like I know you through your blog. Your faith and your insight are simply amazing. Our priest said today that what happens in our lives can make us better or bitter. I will continue to be here and your family will continue to be in my prayers.


Anonymous said...

Nothing you send would ever be junk mail. I love the prayer card and I look at it and the beautiful picture of baby Cate often.

Dear Lord, thank you for the rain and the sunshine and all that comes from You!

Carol Z in New York

Erica said...

I have been keeping up with your story and you continue to move and inspire me. I have for a while wanted to mention another blog that I read about a family who also lost their little girl. I don't know if a fellow saint suffering and enduring is encouragement or if it would bring up raw emotion so I have been unsure of whether or not to mention it, I have felt as though the timing wasn't right. After reading your last post I prayed about it and God told me to wait until this post. So I did, and I think it's fitting because her blog is titled, "Bring the Rain." While your experience is different your heartache might seem familiar to each other. The site is

Anonymous said...

I continue to pray for you and your family as I follow you on your journey. I am also taken aback as some days you speak about things I have thought of and talked about.

We love you!!!

Bonnie said...

Charlie & Ali,
I look forward every day to reading your blog. You are so uplifting and have given a better outlook on life and on appreciating my family. I do love the song Bring the Rain. The words are so true. We are still with ya'll. God Bless all of you.


Anonymous said...

Praying for you every day. Please keep writing. It is uplifting to sit at my computer and feel the Holy Spirit through your words!

amy said...

hey Charlie and Ali
We are still with you now and always. I still check the blog everyday ten times a day and continue thinking and praying for you guys as much and even more everyday.
Ali, school is here girl. Ready or not here they come. I will be proud once again to wear my Cate pin on my shirt, now that my cheesy teacher pin has so much more meaning :) I can't wait to share my love for Baby Cate with my Pre-K students.
We love you!
Ben, Amy and Benjamin

houseadventure said...


I just wanted to let you and Ali know that I am still here with you in this journey.

-Ashley Duran

Anonymous said...

When Cate was in TCH my 6 year old grand daughter and I would pray the rosary every afternoon and ask Our Mother Mary to intercede on Cate's behalf. (I had not picked up my rosary in several years.)
Tonight my grand daughter was having a sleep over and after our nightly prayers she asked, "Nana will I get to meet Cate in Heaven?"
I assured her she would get to meet Cate. She was very happy with my answer, then she says.." Well then she will be invited to my birthday parties in heaven!"
Cate has made a difference in my prayer life, and she surely lives in my grand daughter's heart even though she never met her..
May God richly bless you and your sweet family.

Anonymous said...

I attended a "Morning of Rest and Relaxation" for educators in preparation for the upcoming school year. Sister Camille Martinez mentioned that she has "list" of the special people she wants to meet when she gets to heaven. Cate is on my list, and no doubt on lists of many. Her spirit lives in you as you share your heart and our faith. Thank you for continuing to minister to your fan club!

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali,
We are still with you in prayer and continue to follow the blog daily. Thanks for continuing to share your journey.....its truly inspiring!
Breyan and family

Anonymous said...

Hey you two.. been giving out the prayer cards here at TCH- seen many smiles from the nurses for you guys. :)
Everybody gives there love including me!

~ Tricia

Lila Lambert said...

As St. Alphonsus once said, as today is his feast day,"difficulties are the chisel with which God carves us for paradise" our suffering, Lord Jesus, may we come to know You better.

Anonymous said...

I am still praying for you and your family. I am the one who went to church for the first time after reading your blog a while back. I'm still not sure if I'm "doing it right" or not, but my prayers continue for you guys. In fact, I have even printed your's and other peoples words of prayer (so I would look like I knew what I was doing), like God didn't see me do that, right?? Anyway, your words and your committment to your faith and family are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and faith with all of us! You have truly helped so many of us find our way to/back to God.

jennie g said...

Wow Charlie,
So many people have found their way back to their faith through your words and through your baby Cate. My faith/spirituality was strong already, but has become stronger. Many songs come to mind when I think of your family and the time of mourning. This morning as I stood in front of the mirror putting on the ritual of make-up I was thinking of Ali (as a Mom) & how she does it...then suddenly the song "Tears In Heaven" by Eric Clapton came on the radio. It was so "real" to me ... you know, he says"Would you know my name, if I saw you in Heaven?" Little Cate will remember and recognize all those that love her sooo much. In the movie "Steel Magnolias" after Julia Roberts' character of the women says, "She will always be young, She will always be beautiful" just like Cate. The Cantrell story is a wonderful one of life, death, strength, faith, reality, humor, family (well I could go on forever)...and we love sharing it with you day to day, because we really do care. Love hearing from you both. Ali, thank you for the card I received yesterday (it was so sweet).
Much Love,
Jennie G

ann said...

I just found you guys today - so, I prayed backwards - and now I am praying forward. Indeed such transparency of the spirit is nourishing to all who will be nourished.

Tricia Granger said...

Hey charlie I would really like you to recommend some reading material on St.Ignatius.I would love to learn more about him being Lawrence and I were married on his feast day 27 years ago.Yes I know we're getting old but I love him more than when I married him. And yes men can put up with women's mood swings for many years just as we can put up with theirs! HA!! WE loves you guys and I rather read your inspirational blogs than watch soap opreas.Our prayers continue <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><

Anonymous said...

God looked around his garden, and saw an empty space. He looked down from heaven and saw Cate's smiling face. He put his arms around her, and whispered "come to rest." His garden must be beautiful, he picks only the very best It broke our hearts to lose you, but you did not go alone. A part of us went with you, the day God called you home. Our thoughts are always with you, a million times we've cried. And if our love could have saved you, you never would have died.

Anonymous said...


Even though we haven't seen you since Cate's funeral, please don't forget to hold a couple of prayer cards for us. I don't want to ask you to mail them to us but I just don't want you to run out. We want one for ourself and one for a very special friend in Atlanta.

We miss you you and continue to lift you up in prayer.

Jane W

Anonymous said...

We are here, we are praying, we asking God to heal your pains-
We love you guys,
Jeff and Tonya

Anonymous said...

There is no place else I would rather be. Even tho we are "strangers", we are family...we are children of God and as such, part of His glorious family. Thank you for having the strength to continue to give and share with us. You and Ali are beautiful, faith filled and I am sure Baby Cate is looking down on the both of you, smiling brightly as she is cradled in God's arms, and saying "way to go". From Batavia, IL

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali,

I want to thank you both for so poignantly sharing your thoughts with each of us. Your courage is my gift and my blessing.

I will continue to pray for your peace, comfort and healing.

May God bless you and your sweet children.


Anonymous said...

I read this on someone's blog, who like you, is grieving. I hope it brings you and your family some comfort.

Please Be Gentle
By Jill B. Englar

Please be gentle with me for I am grieving.
The sea I swim in is a lonely one
and the shore seems miles away.
Waves of despair numb my soul
as I struggle through each day.
My heart is heavy with sorrow.
I want to shout and scream
and repeatedly ask 'why?'
At times, my grief overwhelms me
and I weep bitterly,
so great is my loss.
Please don’t turn away
or tell me to move on with my life.
I must embrace my pain
before I can begin to heal.
Companion me through tears
and sit with me in loving silence.
Honor where I am in my journey,
not where you think I should be.
Listen patiently to my story,
I may need to tell it over and over again.
It’s how I begin to grasp the enormity of my loss.
Nurture me through the weeks and months ahead.
Forgive me when I seem distant and inconsolable.
A small flame still burns within my heart,
and shared memories may trigger
both laughter and tears.
I need your support and understanding.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
I must find my own path.
Please, will you walk beside me?

Anonymous said...

Charlie I just wanted to say I'll be reading for as long as you are posting!!!

Teresa Clark :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie,
We are so WITH you!! Keep have this unreal gift for honesty, humor and faithfulness that comes through in all of your writing. I, for one, am following your lead....and I think I'm one in a very long line!
You and Ali stay close to my heart and I still pray for you every day!

Anonymous said...

Stephen Curtis Chapman added a new verse to his song, "Yours", in honor of his little daughter, Maria, who was tragically lost to them. Your precious family, for whom I pray daily, came to my heart when I heard this new rendition. The new verse follows:

"I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you."

In prayer for you that you continue to see His light.