Hopeful prayer Mother Angelica wrote for parents of miscarried/stillborn children

mother_angelicaMy Lord, the baby is dead!

Why, my Lord—dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face—it will not see the beauty of Your creation or a flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?

“Why, My child—do you ask ‘why’?” Well, I will tell you why.

You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.”

I am humbled before you, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as a fool—forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity.

Mother M. Angelica, courtesy of EWTN.com

Editor’s note:

The Church explains that (except for the Blessed Virgin Mary) all babies are conceived lacking grace and separated from God, in a state of spiritual deprivation, due to the inherited remains of the sin of Adam and Eve … Original Sin.

The whole matter is (typically) remedied shortly after birth, by the holy Sacrament of Baptism.

This presents a theological problem for the miscarried or the stillborn, since Baptism is available only to those who have been born alive, and since one who has not been baptized is (normally) considered unsuitable for Heaven.

Since we have no definitive, divinely revealed information as to exactly how God deals with this particular type of occurrence, all we can do is rely on God to do what is best … and in faith … consecrate the spirit of our infant child to God’s infinite mercy and tender love.

The routine practice of our Catholic faith seems to hold out even more genuine hope for us, in these cases.

Parents (particularly the mother) who remain in a state of grace, who regularly attend Mass, and who worthily and regularly partake of Holy Communion and other appropriate sacraments, have every reason to trust that God will take special charge of any child who might (for whatever reason) fail to survive the entire process of conception, gestation and live birth … since through our sacramental life of grace, the child in the womb is no stranger to God, who not only indwells our soul, but also nourishes and sanctifies our physical body (including the baby in the womb).

There is “precedent” for God acting in this way, since that is essentially what happened to John the Baptist (while still in-utero) the moment the Virgin Mary (already carrying Jesus in her blessed womb) first approached her cousin Elizabeth (John’s mother).

Here’s the biblical account:

Luke 1:39-44  And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.  And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth.  And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.  And she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

The Church has always considered this to be the moment that John the Baptist, still inside his mother, was himself first baptized.

What Jesus did for his cousin John he will more than likely also do for his faithful Catholic brothers and sisters.

So … even absent the Sacrament of Baptism, under extraordinary circumstances, we have great reason to believe that the same Christ who we receive bodily in Holy Communion … who knows us and loves us … is not likely to ignore or reject the little child dwelling inside the womb of a faithful, grace-filled, Catholic mother.

Our faith informs us, in light of all this, that God, because he is good,  just, and merciful, will accomplish whatever might be necessary, through his abundant grace … to grant the baby eternal salvation and peace … lovingly taking the infant to himself.

Matthew 19:13-14  Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them.  But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of Heaven is for such.

Mother Angelica obviously knows and loves God, and in her prayer for these special babies, she faithfully takes Jesus at his word. For a number of very good reasons, faced with the profound tragedy of a miscarriage or still birth, we should too. 

More on this very sensitive matter here

Inviting Protestant in-laws to a Catholic (infant) Baptism?

Q: Inviting Protestant in-laws to a Catholic (infant) Baptism?

I am having my baby baptized, but all of my in-laws are hardcore Baptists/Evangelists. Should I even invite people who aren’t Catholic, or will they be respectful about it? Anyone had a similar experience?

They are always bagging on me for being Catholic, giving me names of “different” churches that we can attend. I have a feeling that they will roll their eyes through the whole ceremony and glare at me for not doing things the Baptist way.

A: You definitely should invite them … because it would be an insult not to.

Your non-Catholic relatives probably don’t believe in original sin. They don’t believe in the primacy of grace, and they don’t believe in the necessity of sacraments for the purpose of infusing grace into the soul.

Surprisingly … Baptists don’t believe in the necessity and effectiveness of the sacrament of baptism, either … they think it’s just a nice thing to do … but only for those who are old enough to make a profession of faith … hence their problems with infant baptism.

Ask the priest or deacon to explain to all those gathered for the baptism that infant baptism, as practiced in the Catholic Church, is THE most definitive demonstration of salvation with ABSOLUTELY NO WORKS AT ALL … according the FAITH of the Church … FREELY given by God … who desires all to be SAVED, and to come to the knowledge of his TRUTH.

Since the Holy Spirit IS the Spirit of Truth … and “knowing” that truth involves the indwelling of one’s soul by that same Spirit … it’s clear that Catholics have always had this one right, from the very earliest days of the Church.

It would also be a good idea to mention that grace necessarily preceeds faith … and that baptism is all about grace … and all about the Holy Spirit sweeping original sin from the soul and taking up residence there … making the infant a temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted child of God, co-heir with Jesus Christ, a citizen of Heaven, and a member of the Church.

Let anyone attempt to make a case against that!

Furthermore … the Bible DOES NOT prohibit infant baptism … while the OT practice of circumcision is cited by St. Paul as one of the strongest precedents for infant baptism.

Your Baptist relatives will likely understand things framed in this manner … even if their Protestant beliefs don’t quite measure up.

Catholics: Why did Jesus forgive the criminal instantly, but not us??

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Q: Catholics: Why did Jesus forgive the criminal instantly, but not us??
When Jesus was dying, one of the criminals Jesus was being crucified with him said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(luke 23.40)

Jesus never mentioned that the criminal hadn’t done enough in his life to be saved. In fact, he was a criminal!! So clearly he wasn’t saved by his works. Jesus says “today”, so the criminal isn’t going to Purgatory first.

Why would Jesus forgive this criminal but make us work to be saved??
 

A: You should first, seriously consider WHY Jesus didn’t choose to forgive BOTH thieves!

Next, consider that the word “Paradise” does not necessarily mean “Heaven”. If Jesus had intended to say Heaven, he likely would have. So your argument against at least the possibility of Purgatory is very, very weak. 

Consider this, as well:

Infant baptism, as typically practiced in the Catholic Church, is the most definitive example of salvation, freely given, and freely received, with absolutely no works at all, since the infant cannot “do” anything for himself, yet in every case, original sin is swept from the soul, the baptized truly becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted child of God, a citizen of heaven, co-heir with Jesus Christ, and a member of the Church, simply because God desires all to be saved … and because the authentic Church does what it correctly understands to be God’s will.  

So far as St. Dismas, “the good thief” is concerned, it’s obvious that God provided the necessary grace of conversion that led him to make his very timely profession of faith … and I have no doubt that due to that same grace, Dismas also became truly sorry for all the sins he had committed during his lifetime … and that he would have truly repented, if he had somehow survived the cross.

Grace-inspired faith in God, contrition for sins, and authentic repentance have always been essential for forgiveness, so why shouldn’t Jesus have mercifully extended his divine favor at that time … especially since the Church … the Universal Sacrament of Salvation … did not yet exist?

Besides, God is sovereign, all powerful, not bound by ANY of  the rules he makes for us, and he has the power to “save” anyone he chooses, for any reason, or for no reason at all.

Similarly, because God is all poweful, no one, by ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER can force God to “save” them. This means that salvation will ALWAYS remain a free gift.

In light of the totality of the Gospels, Christ’s Great Commission, the teachings of the apostles, and the constant testimony and actual practice of the authentic, universal Church, the sacrament of Baptism is typically (but as in this case, not always) necessary for salvation, and once baptized, WORKS do indeed matter.

Jesus gives us the definitive word on the subject here:

Mat 25:31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty.
Mat 25:32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Mat 25:35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee?
Mat 25:40 And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
Mat 25:41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
Mat 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink.
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger and you took me not in: naked and you covered me not: sick and in prison and you did not visit me.
Mat 25:44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to thee?
Mat 25:45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen: I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

In the Book of Revelation, St. John also speaks of Judgment, and of works: 

 Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne and one sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away: and there was no place found for them
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne. And the books were opened: and another book was opened, which was the book of life. And the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

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