This post was written originally for myself, but I've added to it in order to share with others. I decided that if it could save just one life or change just one hardened heart, it would be worth it. I feel it necessary to give a short background before delving into some things that I don't normally share on a daily basis with just anyone. So here goes: I grew up with parents who were certainly open to life-I have 1 sister and 5 brothers-one of whom I am 20 years older. In high school I went monthly to the abortion clinic to pray and in college was president of the Ravens Respect Life Club. I have twice attending the national March For Life on the anniversary of Roe v Wade in January, joining hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers praying and making a stand down the national mall and to the US Capitol. In discovering my vocation in life, an Economics paper titled The Baby and Society, confirmed my inmost desire God planted in my heart. When teaching, one of my favorite units in Religion was on Life and I loved passing out the Pro-Life bumper stickers to the kids to go home and stick on their vehicles (hope I didn't get anyone in trouble!) And once married, Mary brought my prayer for a child to the Lord for we conceived a short time later and hence our son has a Marian name: Dominic.
It was early May, and my husband and I were slightly dumbfounded and a little overwhelmed. As we checked and double checked our chart, the signs of conceiving a child the previous month were not there. But yet, I showed all the signs of being pregnant. There was such a mix of emotions, especially as this was not what we planned quite yet especially after two difficult births and not being sure the (then) littlest one was ready to be a big sister.
An Answer to A Prayer
As a mother of small children, often times prayers become simple. For quite some time, my prayer after Holy Communion was this: "Lord, teach me to love." After many months, God answered it in a slightly unexpected way. What better way to learn to love than to bring forth life? Love is not selfish. It is always about another person. It is a complete denial of oneself. A child comes into this life entirely helpless-in need of food, shelter, warmth-but really can't we just sum it all up and say-in need of love? The contraceptive mentality of today would say that this baby was a mistake. He or she is unwanted. But when using Natural Family Planning (NFP), this baby of ours becomes our fiat, like Mary's, to God. Our "yes, let it be done to me according to your will, O Lord." I may not have thought I was ready and I was definitely surprised, but yet I love this baby forming inside of me-this little life is no accident!
We don't have children because "we are ready" or because we think "they will make us happy". (We must, however, exercise our gift of reason and prayerfully discern God's will in the matter if He is ready for us to conceive.) We have children because God allows us to and thence we find ourselves enjoying true happiness that we otherwise would have never known. A year ago, I began this blog and chose it's name really, I guess in looking back, mimicking my prayer-to teach me to love. This Christmas, my greatest gift is the gift of my three children.
As you share this Christmas with your loved ones, I want to share this poem by Anita Robertson that I read many years ago. Remember how Christ came into the world in order to transform it. It is He who has made life special, unique, and holy no matter the circumstances. We must remember that a child is a gift bestowed on us by God that they might know, love, and serve Him and one day be with Him in Heaven. We are here to trust in Him and to do what He wills with our lives. He has a plan for each of us-"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope!" Jeremiah 29:11
When God wants something great done in this world, He doesn't dispatch a legion of avenging angels; neither does He call forth a whirlwind nor ignite the fuse of volcanic fireworks; no commandeering of troops into battle nor discharging zealous crusaders to holy causes. He does not orchestrate the burst and boom of thunder nor display His fiery arrows' majesty across the sky to bring His purpose to pass. When God wants something great done in this world. . . He sends a baby and then. . . He waits.
I am so excited to discover God's unveiling plan He has for me and this new babe. God is good!
Dear Little One,
The time is very near to meet you,
and look into your eyes;
hold you in my arms too
and sing you favorite lullabies.
Your very being means more to me
than diamonds on a string;
even my long awaited trip across the Tuscan sea.
I am so glad God brought you into being!
You are my Italian-made leather boots
and the latest fashion style.
I'm anxious to get to know you and your cahoots
and to greet your little smile!
Oh! I await the future pitter-patter
of a third set of feet
amongst all the household clatter.
All this my dream house on a hill could never beat.
A higher degree or a job in the workplace
nothing would compare
with another smiley face
upon my bed when I awaken there!
For little one, you see,
even now each beat of my heart
and every breath I breathe
says "I love you!" "I love you!" "I love you!"
"Every child is here to love and to be loved." Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
The Two MothersA lady was calling upon a friend whose two children were brought in during the call. As they talked together the caller said eagerly, and yet with evidently no thought of the meaning of her words, "Oh, I'd give my life to have two such children." And the mother replied with a subdued earnestness whose quiet told of the depth of experience out of which her words came," That's exactly what it costs!"
The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral-a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body. The Angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mother's are closer to God the Creator than any other creatures. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?
-Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty