Catholic Free Press
A week ago I learned that the new child in my womb had died, the fourth such loss in four years. The first one devastated me; I did not think it could happen and I had so accepted that life begins at conception that I truly mourned the loss of a child, invisible to my eyes as he or she was. The second one left me numb, I did not think being open to life would mean being open to death.
The third one just made me angry, but I had no one to blame. The Catechism instructs us to entrust unbaptized infants to the mercy of God, and I tried hard to let go and do that. This fourth one taught me something new.
A week before I found out I was pregnant, I had begun St. Louis de Montfort’s way of total consecration to Mary. This saint taught that we should give all to Christ through Mary, our body and senses, our soul and faculties, out material and spiritual possessions, any good whatsoever we possess. Our Blessed Mother is the most direct way to Him because Christ came into the world through her. So, along with everything else I have been given, I consecrated this child in this way, and in doing so I desired Baptism with all my heart, praying nightly for his or her salvation.
Before, I have been more focused on my loss than on the fate of my child, but I realize now that I would have baptized all of them instantly if only I had been granted an instant to do so. Baptism would have been my first priority.
When tragedy threatens I am tempted to focus too much on my own pain and miss the bigger picture. The truth is, we should not take the lives of any of our children for granted, and we should pray daily for their souls — as if it is the last day. There is peace in that because life is fleeting for all of us.
Some people worry, it seems, that if we grant that Baptism by Desire is true, then people might cease to make Baptism a first priority. I think it is the other way around. Perhaps sometimes we take too much for granted and lack enough desire. Sometimes we either evangelize out of fear, or we complacently fail to evangelize at all. Maybe we should strive to pray for the salvation of others as intensely as a grieving parent prays for the salvation of a lost child, and let that guide our actions.
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