Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas!

Happy birthday, my little newborn Lord! (Thank you, Mother.)

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Little L.

Because of my work with the HER Foundation, I know a lot of women across North America I have never met in real life, and I "know" their babies and children.

One of those women, the brave and tenacious C., lost her two-month-old daughter today.

L. was diagnosed in utero with a serious heart condition. C., ill with hyperemesis gravidarum, continued to fight for her baby, planning for delivery in a children's hospital where doctors operated on L.'s tiny heart right away.

After multiple surgeries, L. was transferred to her home town children's hospital, then released and sent home with her overjoyed family. She was doing well, growing, blooming. She was beautiful.

She was readmitted a few days ago, and died suddenly today.

I have no words for how sorry I am, and for how utterly devastating this must be for C. and her family. How do we understand the death of an innocent child?

The thing I am struggling with the most tonight is this: My God, don't HGers give enough? After such horrific, sometimes life-threatening, isolating and frightening pregnancies, don't all of my HG sisters deserve to go home with a healthy baby? A live baby? A baby who learns to crawl and walk and dance and sing?

The author Anne Rice, after her reconversion to Catholicism from atheism, was once asked by an interviewer if her husband's death from cancer made her wonder why God took him. She shrugged and said, "I never look at it that way. I think God was just as sorry it happened as I was, and he cried along with me."

Her thought gives me some small comfort tonight. Until I think of my unmet friend and her enormous grief.

I know life isn't fair, I know that. But sometimes its cruelty is breathtaking.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Second Week of Advent

During Advent, I often think about Mary nine months pregnant. Those feelings of expectation and fear and just being ready to no longer be pregnant, added to the enormous responsibility of being the mother of the Son of the Most High.

At no more than 14 or 15 years old.

Little Mother, pray for us.

Monday, December 08, 2008

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us

People often misunderstand Catholic devotion to Mary. I am no theologian, but here's my attempt to explain why we hold her in reverence.

Notice I didn't use the word worship. Mary is simply a woman; however, we believe since she was given the singular gift of being the Mother of God, that God made her a little bit different from the rest of us. The Holy of Holies couldn't reside in a womb with a stain, not for His own sake, but for the protection of the one who carried Him. So God preserved Mary from that touch of darkness the rest of us have, what Christians call original sin, right from the moment of her conception. And that's what we celebrate today, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

A very good priest once explained to me every baptized person has original sin removed from their souls from the moment of baptism (after that it's our own mistakes that muck us up.) So, in essence, all Christians are like Mary after baptism, which means Mary could have sinned if she so chose.

Catholics believe she did not. So it is not only her spotless nature we revere; it's her choices. Mary chose to refuse sin. Mary chose to accept her unexpected, virgin and potentially dangerous pregnancy. She chose to give us our Saviour. Her choices are why she is the mother of all Christians.

I have also had some profound religious experiences involving Mary, before I ever "got" her. She was an enormous source of help and comfort during my last two pregnancies. I wear a Miraculous Medal around my neck every day in honour of her help during my pregnancy with Toddler N. -- a medal, strangely enough, my Anglican mom picked out for my birthday that year, thinking I would like it because it had Mary on it and was beautiful, not knowing its full meaning and purpose.

Both of my mothers take very good care of me. I love you both.

Happy feast day, readers!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

First week of Advent

O come, thou Dayspring.

Saint Edith Stein, pray for us.

Saint Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.

Remember what the Lord's first Chosen People, the Jews, have suffered for their faith, and what all the Christian martyrs have suffered for theirs. Let's hold onto ours.

Blessed Advent, everyone.