While praying the rosary this afternoon and meditating on the Joyful mysteries, each one held a special meaning for me now as an expecting parent. I thought I would share some of the things that came to me in prayer:
The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation
Mary said yes--"let it be done to me according to your word." What if she would have aborted? Always an option. Yet Mother Teresa said, "it is a poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." Mary did not ask to be the Mother of God. She was chosen. She forfeited her idea of her life for a greater purpose. Lord, help me to do the same.
The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation
I don't know how many months pregnant Mary was when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, but the journey was at least eighty miles and would have taken multiple days. How easy would it have been for Mary, bearing such 'precious cargo' in her womb, to say, "I shouldn't go anywhere...what if something bad happens along the way? Best to just stay put." Mary was not fearful. She "hurried" to see Elizabeth, as much to be among one who believed in God's plan for her, as to pay visitation. Lord, don't let me live in fear, and help us to be surrounded by spiritual mentors who are strong in faith and courage, who will help us raise a child in the right ways.
The Third Joyful Mystery: The Nativity
Jesus was born without a nursery, a proper crib, or disposable diapers. And yet he grew up healthy and strong. When we get lambasted by the baby marketing, Lord, help me keep your lowly birth in mind.
The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation in the Temple
In accordance with the Law, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple to be consecrated to the Lord. This 'offering up' in obedience to the Law reminds me how I must offer up my idea of using artificial contraception in our marriage, based on the teaching of the Church. I am still divided, yet the more I pray, the more I feel my desire to trust God, and not my own will, growing. It's like trusting a parent--sometimes you don't know why they tell you to do the things they do, but you trust that it is in your best interest. I am still nervous about it, but Lord, help me to consecrate my will to You.
The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
I still remember when we thought my brother was lost, when he was little. Turns out he was asleep in the top bunk, while our family scoured the neighborhood in a panic. When I came back to the house and found him, the relief was profound. Since then I have had a fear of 'losing' my own child, and do not like crowded places for this reason (that scene in Crazy Heart when Jeff Bridges loses the little boy in the mall was hard for me to watch). Jesus, twelve years old, wandered off in Jerusalem away from his parents. I feel the panic, the feeling of loss of control, Mary and Joseph must have had. And yet, in the end, they found him. Lord, watch over our child when he wanders from us, and from you.