>> Tuesday, March 24, 2009
By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
“Grant, Lord, that your faithful may become partakers in your passion through their sufferings in this life, so that the fruits of your salvation may be made manifest in them,” we read in the Divine Office.
When recently discussing a painful ordeal with a dear friend, we reminisced about our meeting each other over twenty years ago. She was pregnant with her first child, and I with my second. We recalled how we had helped each other throughout our difficult pregnancies and encouraged each other while nursing our tiny babies, who got us up every two hours. We have watched each other’s children blossom and grow.
Each of us has also suffered the loss of an unborn child through a miscarriage. We were able to hold each other’s hand.
I remember being wheeled into the operating room, sad and very scared, when I had lost a baby. I had been l5 weeks pregnant.
A nurse placed a package on my stomach and helped me open it as I was still being wheeled in for surgery because of the miscarriage. Inside was a statue of Jesus surrounded by little children. There was also a lovely, little note: “Jesus loves all his little children. I love you and I’m praying for you.”
A tear trickled down my cheek and I remembered to whisper a prayer. My friend’s thoughtful gesture touched me. Very shortly, the anesthesia took effect and then I remember waking up with lots of tubes and more IVs. I was told by the nurse that I had lost a lot of blood and had nearly died on the operating table. I was told that I needed to stay in the hospital a couple of days. How could I? I was only supposed to be here for a couple of hours. My little daughter and older son won’t understand. I need to go home. I was able to talk my doctor into allowing me to return home that evening to be with my family after I had a transfusion.
My thoughts returned to the gift that I had received from my dear friend. How she had managed to get that special treasure to the hospital before my emergency surgery remained a mystery to me. Her loving thoughts, concern and prayers helped me through the loss as did the help from my dear family and friends.
My friend, too, suffered the pain of losing an unborn child. God allowed me to be a comfort to her because he had allowed me to relate to her pain, so similar to that I had experienced earlier.
It was interesting, too, that we each also experienced placenta previa and a hemorrhaged uterus, forcing us into complete bed rest during our pregnancies. Having older children to care for, we asked ourselves, “What is complete bed rest? Mothers don’t really get to rest, do they?”
We each managed to get through our long pregnancies, supporting one another, counting the days till we would come face to face with our precious infants. And then, once again, we were on our feet heading into yet another chapter of our lives.
At times it may seem that things will always be this way, that nothing will change. Yet our lives progress in phases. A nine-month difficult pregnancy may seem like an eternity. A painful separation or divorce may leave us devastated. An unexpected accident or a sudden death of a loved one is very hard to handle and get over.
We need to remember that this, too, will pass. Time goes on and time heals. Each difficulty or “splinter from the Cross” has with it a solution and God’s grace. Every earthly pain or trial ends. Then we move on to another level of life, complete with new joys and sorrows and challenges. God, in His divine providence, provides for us the perfect amount of grace to get us through.
Our journey throughout our lives may take us along some very challenging roads. We might find ourselves at times in the most unexpected places. The gift of faith that God has given us for the asking will surely help to carry us through.
St Francis de Sales tells us in the Introduction to the Devout Life: “We need to suffer patiently not only the burden of being ill, but of being ill with the particular illness that God wants for us, among the people that He wants us to be with, and with the discomforts that He permits us to experience. I say the same of all other tribulations.”
Suffering is a part of life. But faith makes it bearable and love makes it a way to draw closer to the One Who suffered and died so that we might live. His Cross, our splinter — both are redemption.
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, mother of five and Lay Missionary of Charity writes from Connecticut. She is the author of the Best-selling book, Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers, published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. Her book, The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home, published by Crossroad Publishing. Her book, Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine-Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be, bears a foreword by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta whom the author knew personally and was released in April 2007. These three books were encouraged and endorsed by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and given a blessing by Pope John Paul II. They are available through her website: www.donnacooperoboyle.com. Donna-Marie's latest books are: Catholic Saints Prayer Book , published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, The Domestic Church: Room by Room: A Mother's Study Guide, and Grace Cafe: Serving up Recipes for Faithful Mothering, both by Circle Press Publishing. Donna-Marie donates a portion of the proceeds to the Missionaries of Charity to help the poor, as well as parish organizations. Donna-Marie writes for a number of magazines, newspapers and Catholic websites. She has appeared on EWTN television, she has a regular radio segment called, "Mom's Corner" with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection," Ave Maria Radio. She is a regular contributor to Catholic Mom.com. Catholic Exchange, Catholic Online, and Catholic Outpost. She lectures on a number of topics and can be reached through her website or at DMCOBoyle@aol.com .