My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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When A Child Dies

I recently had a discussion on another blog about reasons for having children. One of the reasons that seemed to be rejected out of hand was that having children because a child might die was "living in fear and not faith."

I strongly disagree. I see it as facing the reality of human mortality, even in children.

First of all, it's scriptural:
Matthew 2:18"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

Job 1:18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"

In my own life I have seen the untimely death of a young one several times: teen neighbors killed in an auto accident, a young cousin struck by the side of the road, cousins felled by cancer, a young man overcome by carbon monoxide, young taken by miscarriage, stillbirth and congenital birth defects, some appearing prenatally, and some not showing themselves until childhood.

Death is a fact of life. It is not fear to say that. It is acceptance that we do not always know the will of God, but we have faith

Job 1:20The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."

that His plan has a purpose.

Job 38:
Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its size; do you know? Who stretched out the measuring line for it?
Into what were its pedestals sunk, and who laid the cornerstone,
3 While the morning stars sang in chorus and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
And who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb;
When I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands?
When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door,
And said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled!
Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning and shown the dawn its place
For taking hold of the ends of the earth, till the wicked are shaken from its surface?
The earth is changed as is clay by the seal, and dyed as though it were a garment;
But from the wicked the light is withheld, and the arm of pride is shattered.
Have you entered into the sources of the sea, or walked about in the depths of the abyss?
Have the gates of death been shown to you, or have you seen the gates of darkness?
Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell me, if you know all:

Now I would like to address some of the arguments that came up in the discussion:

Would your pain of losing one of your children be less just because you have more at home?

Speaking as the mother of a stillborn son at 23 weeks, in my experience I think that having my other children helped to lessen my grief. First of all, I had to continue to be concerned for them and their grief during that difficult time instead of focusing only on my own pain. The memory of eight year old Gabe making the American Sign Language sign for love that he had recently learned and saying, "Yo bro!" as he passed his baby brother's casket provided a moment of levity for everyone there. I also remember it was Sam's first time to serve any mass ever and being very proud of him as he handled the books and the incense during the funeral mass. Having my children at the wake after the funeral made it a true party and celebration of life. And it gladdens my heart to this day that Izzy and Noah who were only three and four at the time, remember the wonderful party after the funeral. They also remember our many cemetery adventures. Their presence has helped me over the years to make the death of my baby a time of bittersweet joy, instead of just sorrow.

You cannot replace a dead child, and it’s probably highly damaging psychologically to the child one conceives with that thought in mind

I actually partially agree with that. Once a child dies there is a hole in that family that will always be there until you are all reunited in heaven. I see that gap between my eight year old and my two year old and I wonder what that wonderful five year old boy would be like! When I see children that age I sigh over what might have been. That child is truly missed.

But my little daughter has brought much, much happiness and joy into our lives. And as she grows and develops she becomes her own little person with her own likes and dislikes. I can't remember now what it was like before her! I can't imagine how my life would be if she had never been born. She has carved out her own warm place in our family and in our hearts.

I doubt the person making the comment about knew much about large family life (let alone psychology). What I think my daughter and all my children will remember is that God gave their parents a time of special sorrow, and they still trusted Him with their lives, and were rewarded abundantly.