Journey in Love: A Catholic Mother's Prayers after Prenatal Diagnosis, by Kathryn Casey
The Catholic Church teaches that “the profession of our faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in God's creative, saving, and sanctifying action - culminates in the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and in life everlasting” (CCC 989). In this rising, “God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection” (CCC 997) He will not only raise our bodies as they are, but “change our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (CCC 999).
Journey in Love: A Catholic Mother's Prayers after Prenatal Diagnosis is a sensitive, supportive resource from an author who knows the suffering of a prenatal diagnosis and ongoing complex medical needs firsthand. Kathryn walks with you through the stages of grief, helps you to pray even when you feel you cannot, sheds new light on the comfort and grace of the Church’s traditional prayers, and provides meditations tied to the liturgical year.
Below is a excerpt meditating on those great Glorious Mysteries that give hope to our suffering and a promise that one day, every tear will be wiped away (Revelation 21:4).
The First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection
They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” (Jn 20:13)
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-boni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (Jn 20:16-17)
The blessings may be unseen, unrecognizable because they are unlike the blessings we knew before the diagnosis. Yet here they are. I cannot remain in the past; I must move forward, I must go out as my life, too, proclaims the good God has done for me. There is a hidden light waiting to reveal itself, and its glory is beyond our comprehension.
The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension
He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own au- thority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts 1:7-9)
God gives his promise. Even as he seems to leave me, even as the security I rested in disappears, God promises. He will send his Spirit. I shall find strength. There will be power as he works for good in all things.
The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (Jn 14:26)
Mary sat among the disciples as the Holy Spirit descended with tongues of fire. Of all those whom Christ encountered during his life and ministry, there was no life more touched than Mary’s, no voice more filled with the power of his proclamation. She is his mother always.
The Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thes 4:16-17)
Mary’s assumption is the promise of what is to come when Christ returns and our fallen bodies rise from the dead, glorified as the Father glorified Christ’s body. Whatever the defect, whatever way my child’s body did not develop as it was meant to, it will be healed. And yet the marks of the love, the prayers, the strength through suffering that developed in my child’s mind and soul will never be erased. He or she is my little one and will always be.
The Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation of Mary
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. (Rv 7:9)
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Lk 11:28)
I carry my child, I give my devotion, facing whatever the con- sequences of this diagnosis may be. I do it for love, for duty, for the sake of my call to be a cocreator with God. This gift is not forgotten, however imperfectly I give it. When I stand before God, he will ask me when I saw him naked and clothed him, hungry and fed him (cf. Mt 25:37). Then the angels will witness and my children will cry out, “She gave all for us!”
Visit Our Sunday Visitor’s website to download Journey in Love: A Catholic Mother’s Prayers after Prenatal Diagnosis or order a print copy today. This post includes an excerpt from that book.
Kathryn is a Northern Californian wife, mother of five children on earth and three in Heaven, newspaper reporter, columnist and author of Journey in Love: A Catholic Mother’s Prayers after Prenatal Diagnosis. She splits her time reading, writing, homeschooling, attending to her Peter’s medical needs, and shuttling him to appointments at University of California San Francisco while listening to her favorite podcasts. To read more of her writing, go to www.kathrynannecasey.com.