‘Just one life’ can make an incredible impact

| Sharon Wilson | December 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

baby_webSometimes I can remember it like it just happened yesterday.

I put my daughter down to sleep after feeding her and went to warm a bottle for my son. When I left, he was sleeping peacefully. When I returned, he was dead.

Ninety seconds was all the time that I was gone. Ninety seconds and he was gone.

Courtney and Jordan were our long-awaited twins. Courtney is now 20 years old, but her twin brother left this world on April 5, 1993. At only three weeks old, he was just an infant, and one may wonder what impact an infant can make in our lives. Or, what difference can any one life make — whether before or after birth?

After all, it’s just one life.

Comforting those in need

Pope Francis said recently: “I see clearly that the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.”

As Catholics and people of life, we are called to draw close to parents who have lost a child and provide care and comfort to their aching hearts.

In recent years, the Church has made great strides in helping these families. Recognition of the life of the child in the womb and honoring that child with memorial services such as the archdiocesan “Mass for God’s Children” not only help families with the grieving process, they also help to solidify the worth of every human being.

Recently, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops developed a special rite for the “Blessing of the Child in the Womb.” This special blessing for the child is a source of comfort for mothers and families, especially if they are in a high-risk pregnancy. Many parishes are starting to include this blessing into their liturgical life.

Other parish efforts like Divine Mercy church’s Garden of Mercy project in Faribault feature a special naming memorial where parents can honor the life of their child no matter how short.

This future garden, adjacent to the church, will offer a place of healing for the family that grieves the loss of a child, whether through miscarriage or abortion or after birth. Parents will be able to place the name of their child on a small stone thereby honoring that child and elevating the significance of each life. (If you are interested in contributing to the Garden of Mercy Project, contact Marcia at 507-334-2266.)

Learning how to love

Blessing a child in the womb, grieving the loss of a miscarriage, honoring a child through a naming memorial — all of these efforts help to combat society’s insistence on evaluating the worth of a persons’ life based on what they can do.

My son Jordan couldn’t do much of anything; he ate, slept and soiled his diapers. He did nothing of significance, but he taught me how to love. His one life taught me the pain of loss and, in some way, he taught me about the love of Christ and his suffering on the cross.

How can someone as insignificant as a baby change my life? How can someone as insignificant as a baby change the world?

There is no better time to reflect on the gift of a child than Advent, as we are longing and looking for that One Life entering into the world for our salvation. It is significant that Christ came as a baby who couldn’t do much of anything: he ate, slept and soiled his diapers.

As you prepare for the coming of Christ, reach out to those who may have lost a child, help someone realize the significance of their own life, and reflect on the gift that just one life is in this world.

Wilson is respect life coordinator for the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life.

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Category: This Catholic Life