Tuesday, July 8, 2008

To the Fields

Matthew 9:36-38

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

I went to daily mass today because a friend of mine who had lost a child said it was a place where she was able to feel close to her daughter, Rachel. I didn’t go cause I wanted to be holy, to be feed or to look cool, I went because I wanted to be close to Cate. The priest proclaimed the gospel which is where the above quote comes from and then went on to give his homily. Well, I did what I typically do and started giving myself my own homily in my head, I know, its weird, but it’s what works for me.
Throughout Cate’s whole ordeal when people were flocking to the blog, flocking to churches, flocking to the throne room door of heaven, it was a huge witness to the fact that the Harvest IS abundant and that all of us often feel like sheep without a shepherd, just kind of wondering through life, until something worthwhile comes up to get behind, this time, that being Cate. I was reading an email that a friend sent me who quoted Pope Benedict XVI, who said:

“We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.”

So often we feel like we are just walking through life, day in a day out, getting the routine chores done so we can go home, go out, go to the lake, go fishing, go do whatever it is we do, but at the end of the day when all is done we still don’t feel like we really accomplished that much in the big scheme of life. We wake up the next day and we do it all over again. Cate never had the opportunity or the burden of running the rat race that we all run. She didn’t have to go school, do homework, do chores, go to college, get a job, do the mundane occurrences that we all call life that make this world “great.” Yet, look at who God called from birth to be a laborer for His harvest, someone who NEVER SPOKE A WORD. He used this baby girl to surprise people with the Gospel and for people to have a real encounter with Christ. Did we achieve the outcome that we or the world desired? No, not at first glance, but I challenge you to look deeper. It is bitter sweet without a doubt but yet still the outcome is greater than any of us could have EVER imagined.
I ran into to a friend of mine after Mass today who said, “Man, you have a Saint, for a child!” Wow! I do, Cate in her short time on this earth accomplished everything I want my kids to accomplish, to love their God, to love their family, and to lead other people to Christ, and she did all of this without ever saying a word. Now, I have to be honest, I felt a real kick in the pants as I was returning to my truck. As I walked I was thinking to myself, if God has to use a seven month old on her death bed to tell the world of His great love, he must be running out of people, kinda being funny, kinda being serious though. The Harvest is abundant, the laborers are few, and my little girl just ran CIRCLES around me, my life, and my ministry in only twelve days, and I have been doing this for years, I pride fully thought to myself.
All of us have an opportunity to be laborers and we are all NECESSARY, in God’s plan and we all have a story to tell of the saving power of Christ. And if you cannot think of one, think of CATE, tell others what God did throughout the World during Cate’s short life. We can all continue Cate’s legacy by telling people, those people who are looking for a Shepherd about what our Shepherd did through this little girl’s life, and death. It’s a simple story, you don’t have to remember scripture quotes, you don’t have to know doctrine, you just have to know what God did in your heart and what you saw and read about Him doing in the hearts of others. It’s that easy to become a laborer. You don’t have to go to college, seminary, bible school, or anything like that, Cate didn’t! If God can use Cate as a laborer for his Harvest, than He can and will use ANY of us. Thank You Lord for being our Shepherd, Thank you for calling us into an active role in bringing the message of your Salvation to the World and thank you for your messenger Cate who brought all of us closer to You! Much Love, the Cantrells


Anonymous said...

Wow Charlie,
You and your family always bring me back to my knees in Thanksgiving to our Lord. It is so true everything you said...its truth filled!

I'm guilty of it I walk day by day thinking that I'm taking a break in volunteering in ministries to take time for myself and I don't realize how selfish I'm being. How everyday and every encounter with anyone is part of my ministry. That I can tell and show people what Christ has done in me! I stand in awe of you and your wonderful family and the way you even take this blog as a ministry. Thank you for giving so much, for giving your family's everyday ministry as an example for us and for open not only my eyes but everyone else who reads this...thank you!

Kayla Gaspard said...

I just wanted you to know that I am still reading, still praying, and still in awe at the hand of God in the lives of your entire family! It is an absolute gift and a breath of fresh air to see a family such as yours so fearlessly proclaim the saving power of Jesus Christ to the world - especially in the midst of incredible hurt and pain. I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again - thank you for reminding me to listen for God in my everyday life and to respond to His call to be His disciple. You guys will remain in my prayers.
One more thing, one of my best friends has been trying to get pregnant for quite a while and after Cate became a Saint, I started asking her to intercede for my friend and her husband. My friend told me today that she is pregnant and will have her baby in February! I like to believe that Cate had a big hand in pulling on God's toes to bless my friend with a baby!

Your sister in Christ,
Kayla Gaspard

maureen Gallagher said...

Miraculous how you stay so thankful and in awe, inspired what God did and continues to do... This in itself is another miracle.

are you superman? :)
(i promise not to tell dude your secret if you are)

Anonymous said...

wow charlie, thats awesome and so true....I needed to hear that bc today was crazy and I felt like things werent working in my favor all day and that completely made me reevaulate everything...you are so amazing...I have a cousin in town who has never even met you and I didnt even know she knew about the blog but I think my aunt had told her about it and she said "Erin, their faith and loveis absolutely amazing" and I was said yeah, you really cant even begin to know how trully awesome this family is...I love you guys please keep writing, Charlie you have no idea how much it helps me in my day to day life and I know others feel the same!-erin dawson

Nicole said...

Thank you. Again and again for your leadership and your joy even the stillness of Cate's departure. I began reading your blog in that twelve day stretch. I work at CDC, talking daily about hospital infections and antibiotic resistance. I certainly saw the signs in those last days that odds were getting smaller, that chances were fading. But I honestly thought things were going to be different for your daughter. I thought God was going to pull her through and I was STUNNED when it was time to let her go. I cried for her, for your family and for the vacuum of hope her death would create for all of us following her story.

But then you and your wife did an unexpected thing. You stepped into that vacuum and you filled it up with your faith and your radiant joy during such this dark time. In a moment when my faith was deflated and breathless, you gave it new life.

So thank you. Again and again. And please know that Cate wasn't the only Cantrell bringing glory to God.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, thank you for your words. I still find myself being very bitter about Cate not being with you guys. In the midst of all this, my sister's baby is not doing well after having open-heart surgery, and instead of praying, I often find myself wondering if my prayers would even convince God to do what I want. Yet, I know that our God is a loving God who hears our prayers, and no matter what the outcome, I've got to give it back to him...even the pain and the resentment. Thank you for reminding me that Cate's life was not lived in vain. I needed a kick in the butt to focus on the positive again, and to allow myself to seek God's goodness and purpose through our family's situation.

In Christ,
Kristen Dunbar

Anonymous said...

Very humbling. I had guess I'd be get busy in those white fields!

The Maturin 5 said...

As I read your blog with teared filled eyes everything you wrote was so true. Cate brought some many people to Christ, back to Christ and even closer to Christ. I think about her daily and your family. Her life has taught me how to look at my life, my family differently and soak in every second of every minute. Thank you so much!
Stacey Maturin

Anonymous said...

You should always remember that you are an instrament of your daughter's work and continued work by the words of your blog. I was praying for your family, but didn't read the blog until after one of my Household sisters e-mailed us to let us know of Baby Cate's passing. It was then that I sat and read the entire blog and wondered at the amazing work that God has done. Thank you thank you thank you. You are in my continued prayers.

Anonymous said...

charlie, ali, ella, and dude...
i think of you guys and hold you in my prayers on a daily basis. your cate is prob getting tired of my nagging and asking for prayers, but hey, i figure in heaven you never truly get tired so she has her work cut out for her..but i think of you guys when i am in a "woe is me" moment and your love for God and you total surrender has helped me more than you know in these past few days that have been somewhat trying for me. love you much!
maria walther

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Cate continues to be an inspiration in my life.

Claire said...

How humbling it is to find myself, everyday, offering up my petty "struggles" to a little 7 month old baby who, to use your words, has run circles around me and my accomplishments!
I was so excited when this past Sunday's Gospel talked about how God chooses to reveal Himself to, literally, the little ones! I seriously wanted to jump up and down when I read and heard the words of the Gospel in Mass:
"At that time Jesus exclaimed:
'I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.' "

We, the "wise and learned"...are so often blind to what God is revealing. If only we could all be a little more like Baby Cate...to be quiet, to be still, and to literally let go and let God do His work. God bless baby Cate for being a constant reminder to me to remain "little" and depend on God, not ourselves...to keep a child-like faith and to always know that God's plan is better.

Love yall to pieces...
-the other Gallagher.

and please, Dude totally knows you are Superman.

Julie said...

Charlie, you are something else! I was told by someone who lost their baby, "Where were they when we were going through this"? Ya'll have a new ministry. I still read, cry, and pray for all of you. Ya'll are such an inspiration to so many. God Bless your entire family.

Julie Roy

Lila Lambert said...

I am still in awe of how God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary, even supernatural measures(in Cate's case), He shows us that nothing is impossible when we do it in union with Him...Cate has taught me to "seek always the face of the Lord"...how much "fruit" she sowed in God's "harvest fields of faith" in her short life...Lila

they call me the boss said...

When I was in the midst of a miscarriage the hardest prayer for me was "Your will God, not mine". You have done an amazing job accepting God's will and plan. You and Ali inspire me every day.

kellysuch said...

I have Cate's card and picture on the bar with family pics. She's there to greet us and all who enter our house everyday; a constant reminder of God's love. You and Ali and the kids are with me everyday...and though it's been a while since we've seen each other, it certainly doesn't feel like it. Always here if you need the break...we're down the hwy!
Kisses and hugs to Ali for me...
Kelly Stewart

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am a friend who ran across your blog when your baby Cate was preparing for surgery. I have prayed faithfully daily for you and your family. I am drawn to your blog daily still as I am very much inspired by your faith and wisdom during this time of trial in your life. I am amazed of your willingness to share yourselves and your heart and how God is touching you. I do have to make a suggestion for your other children, please print out your blog and put it into a notebook for them to read when they are older. I'm sure they are learning a lot right now from how your so beautifully share your faith during this time of your lives but I'm sure as a young adult they will appreciate being able to read just how God was moving in your heart during this particular period and very significant time in your life. Please know of our prayers for you and your family that you will continue to receive to Love of God each day as you have already done so beautifully and shared with so many people.

4in4 said...

Thank you for a message I needed to hear today. I think your homilies in your head must be pretty good since the ones you write here are! You and your family are in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

Amen. I was touched, as I always am, by your words. Please keep sharing as you have time. Continue to trust and lean on God, your family and all those who love you as you get through this time.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. I don't really have anything to say except that you just confirmed something in my own life, something that I have felt God calling me to do for at least ten years, and never did it. I had just been thinking of this thing the past two days, and trying to ignore it, once again. And once again, God is pushing me forward...I think that He considers me the queen of procrastination. I guess it's time to move. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you, once again. I suppose that I just pray now that I DO IT!

Please know that we are very happy that you are still blogging and that we do pray for your family everyday.

Betsy, Trey, and Fenton

volpecircus said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for reminding me of the most important job of my vocation as mom, to get them to heaven. God bless you and our prayers continue for your family.

In Christ, The Volpes

Linda washington said...

This the first time I have visited this sight since Ms.Mattie told me that our little angel has gone on to meet our heavenly father. I wanted to check in but I just did not know what to say. I want you to know that baby cate has touched my life tremendously. I find my sel praying with more conviction now. I focuse more on everyday things more. Baby cate and you all have made some changes in so many of us. I would just like to extend my love and admiration for your faith and the faith and trust that has been given to us all. Sincerely LINDA WASHINGTON

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary, Ali & Charlie!!!
You all are in our daily prayers...
Love, Gina & Grady Breaux

Anonymous said...

Charlie, As usual God has spoken to me through your words! My heart is open to what God wants more because of Cate! And I have been telling people this story and forwarding along this web address more than I thought I would! So thanks again for sharing and I'll be reading as long as you're writing!

Teresa Clark

Anonymous said...

I have been praying for you and your family. Your strength in these past few months is admirable. I just had my first baby boy and can not imagine what you guys have just gone through. I will keep you guys in my prayers. God bless!

- Laura Connolly Buller

Anonymous said...

As I mentioned once before, I am a recent follower, only beginning to follow after Cate's death. But I have read every blog you have posted and it has changed my life in less than a week. I am in grad school now and I often think, "I don't have time for this..." But I make time every day to read your most recent post, and I check it every day. And afterward, I take time to thank God and speak to Him, something I'd been putting aside for a while. And it is sad, but amazing at the same time, that God chose to use Cate to speak to us, and how amazing that she did speak to us without any words. It's beautiful what God says to us in silence. Please know what I will continue to check daily because you and your family are a constant inspiration to me to keep living, keep thanking, and keep sharing the Word and love of God. Thank you so incredibly much!

Lisa Loftce

Jamie said...

All I can say is thank you for letting God work through your family. It is uplifting.
Have a great day - Jamie B. Fonseca

Sally Dubroc said...

Please know that you and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers daily. The Faith that you are sharing is something that each of us needs and for that we are thankful. Love is what all of this is about; the love of parents for a child, the love of children for a sibling, the love of the Church for its people. I just read love in everything that is shared and this, after all, is what God has challenged us to do. Just remember that when you are tired and sad and lonely, His love will be there. Just call, write, yell, e mail, and His people will respond with love for you and your family. Charlie and Ali are a part of a huge family; the Body of Christ. There is an obvious willingness in His people to reach out to you so please do not be afraid to ask
I love you guys; Sally