Catholics have this great thing about sacrifice and suffering.
We like it.
Perhaps that’s a little misleading.
I think I can rightly say we appreciate it.
You see, when Jesus chose to die on a Cross for us, to suffer, He gave meaning to suffering.
Your suffering, my suffering, the pain of the cancer patient, the grief of a widow, the terror of the warstruck…all of it plays a role in the salvation of the world.
God doesn’t send suffering. He doesn’t like it. He doesn’t plan it.
However, because suffering will happen in this fallen world, thanks to Satan and the original sin of Adam and Eve, God will use it for good.
I truly believe that if I choose to offer my suffering, joyfully (hopefully) uniting it with Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, God can and will use that suffering as a prayer for my intentions and the good of the world.
Please don’t ask me where this is sourced; it’s good Catholic teaching that you can Google as easily as I can, only I’ve got my hands full right now… Thanks!
I’m not always good at remembering to offer up my sufferings, unfortunately, because it’s certainly easier to worry, complain, fret, get grumpy, and ask "Why me?" during one’s own private pity party.
Labor, however, is the perfect time to remember.
I plan it in.
For both of my previous labors, another friend was due about a month after me. She has terribly challenging pregnancies and, as it turned out, incredibly rough labors as well. I was so pleased to be able to offer the fruits of my labor for hers and connect via the Mystical Body of Christ in that way. And now it’s pretty cool that our kiddos are so close in age!
I also tend to offer up labor for other new moms who are experiencing sleepless nights, trouble latching, and the general craziness of newborns. This, by the way, is what I think of when I am awake in the night and do not want to be – I offer up my maternal sacrifice for the faith of my children and for other friends’ holy motherhood as well.
For this impending labor, I’m offering up these intentions with each contraction:
- The faith and well-being of my own children
- A healthy baby boy
- A smooth adjustment to being a family of five
- My friend’s father-in-law who is in his last stages of earthly life
- A reader with the challenge of a colicky baby
- A blog colleague who is on bed rest – she expected to have the baby very early, so I thought I’d be praying for her newborn phase, but baby is still a’cookin’! Praise God!
- A few more blog friends who are also expecting – Yay!
- In thanksgiving for all my readers! Seriously, I’m not just sucking up here. There are so many of you praying for me and this baby around the world, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.
- Some of my personal intentions
- And some that I’ve already forgotten – but I love this about God – He’s not only outside of time so our prayers are never "too late," but He knows our hearts and can cover my temporary amnesia with the prayer, "For everyone for whom I’ve promised to pray, Lord."
Two Great Holy Men
We’ll talk about new baby’s two patron saints a little later…but for this labor, I’m thrilled to be wearing a medal of the pope of my youth, Blessed John Paul II, blessed by the current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.
I put it on immediately when it came in the mail from Lisa Hendey of CatholicMom.com, who was blessed to attend John Paul’s beatification.
John Paul, pray for us!
My Labor Projects
In our birthing classes, they always recommended you have a "labor project," something to keep you busy during early labor. I never really had one – planned to check papers during my first but – surprise, surprise – didn’t feel like it, and just read a bit for the second.
This time, I have a plan. I’m making my homemade wipes (they get funky if they sit around too long) and some Laborade for the rest of the process. And I just picked a whole chicken and returned the bones to the slow cooker. I hope people can figure out what to do with it while I’m gone!
Here we Go…
All this is my way of saying…we’re heading out to have a baby! Thank you for any prayers you can offer for me as our whole life changes and we add a new little soul to our family. Yikes!
I’m actually a little frustrated with how labor is (not) progressing. Contractions seem too short to be productive and are totally irregular, 3 minutes, 14 minutes, 6 minutes. I suppose that means it’s "not yet time" but I’m ready to get this show on the road! Hence, I publish this post to beg for "hurry up!" prayers! Thank you!