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The Catholic Moment: Your faith spoke for this child

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

By Father Rob Waller

Molly Moira would have been born a week before St. Patrick’s Day, except that she was miscarried on Aug. 2.

My imagination is convinced that she was a girl. In my mind she has an Irish name only because I found the perfect gift in Ireland for her parents, who wanted for so long to be pregnant with their first child. The perfect gift will remain on the nightstand at the side of my bed in her memory, until Molly Moira has a sibling.

At our parish’s Memorial Mass in November, as we call the name and light a candle for each one who was buried in our church during the past year, we light an extra one “for those children who were miscarried, and for their mothers who often suffer alone and in silence, without anyone else knowing, and without the memory of a funeral or the comfort of a burial place.”

Many a good woman and good mother, because of the panic and trauma of a hospital emergency or the heartbreak and aloneness of the moment at home by herself, has not asked for or did not search for what remained of her child. It is afterwards that parents, both mothers and fathers, might have guilt over what they did or didn’t do. They might wish that they had done something more or differently. Miscarriage is a terrible moment for which parents are not prepared; it is not a moment for which they plan. Their hope keeps them from even thinking that it is a possibility.

No words can take away the pain of miscarriage, although faith and time can lessen it. Some parents find the words of St. Bernard of Clairveuax helpful. He wrote to a couple that had a miscarriage. In response to their question, “What is going to happen to my child? The child didn’t get baptized,” St. Bernard said, “Your faith spoke for this child. Baptism for this child was only delayed by time. Your faith suffices. The waters of your womb — were they not the waters of life for this child? Look at your tears. Are they not like the waters of baptism? Do not fear this. God’s ability to love is greater than our fears. Surrender everything to God.”

A miscarried child, even in the very earliest stages of life, is in the hands of God. For Molly Moira, the faith of her parents suffices.

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