Today’s Gospel: Luke 1:57-66, 80 – Nativity of St. John the Baptist
A new baby! A long awaited child looked upon in awe as he or she takes a first breath. I’ve wondered if a friend, whose first seven children were boys, looked with greater awe at the birth of his daughter. Or another friend who, in her mid-forties and surrendered to infertility, was overwhelmed with joy at the birth of her first child. No matter what century, all newborns are looked upon with wonder.
To be childless and Catholic can sometimes feel like you don’t fit in. Whether by choice or circumstances, it can be a challenge to be part of an institution that is intensely focused on families. The children are our future, the continuation of the Church, and we celebrate new life.
The birth of John the Baptist was destined to bring souls to God, turning that responsibility over to Jesus when the time came. We too are called to bring souls to Our Lord.
If you are childless, consider a new practice; praying for children as a spiritual uncle or auntie. I’ve found praying so fills that empty space and allows a special love for each child to be expressed. I’m sure Zechariah and Elizabeth had done the same.
How can I include people who do not have children or family into the activities of my parish? Do I exclude myself from church activities because I am childless and feel I have nothing to offer?
Eternal Father, you have entrusted the souls of these children to my care. I ask you now to offer them protection, to guide them in virtue, and to enlist your angels to stand beside them to keep them pure of heart as they struggle against the enticements of the world. In Jesus name, hear my prayers for [say each child’s name]. Amen
Copyright 2016 Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB
Margaret Rose Realy, Obl OSB, is a lay hermit, advanced master gardener with over 35 years experience in the green industry, liturgical garden consultant, and author; and offers presentations, workshops, and retreats. She is the coordinator emeritus of St. Francis Retreat Center Garden Society, DeWitt, Michigan, a columnist for print and on line magazines including CatholicMom.com, and blogs about gardening and spirituality.