January 03, 2007

A Little Confession

I've been thinking about whether I should write this here or not and finally decided to do it. In my last week of my pregnancy with Cecilia, I was on bed rest at Swedish hospital. Things looked pretty bad, I had been bleeding for a few weeks, my amniotic fluid was almost completely gone and the baby wasn't thriving. I was obviously desperate. I knew that most likely I would give birth soon (I was only 23 weeks when they admitted me in the hospital and then 24). I was praying 2 rosaries daily (one for me and the baby and one for Dominic's cousin who was due around that time too but wanted to get her tubes tied after the delivery and I prayed that she would change her mind...and she did). I was doing novenas, litanies, you name it. Every time someone asked me if I was bored being on bed rest so long, I would say that I'm actually very busy praying and reading about prematurity, so I wasn't bored.

They kept checking my amniotic fluid to see if it was growing and I was so anxious about that, that I started praying to St. Gianna Beretta Molla (the one who sacrificed her life for the life of her unborn daughter) to make a miracle and make that amniotic fluid grow back because I wanted my baby to be born at term and be healthy and normal. I asked the Blessed Mother for the same thing and...here it goes...I made a promise (and I'll talk more about making promises later) I promised the Blessed Mother that if she made a miracle and helped my little girl (I knew it was a girl) be perfectly healthy, I WOULD DEDICATE MY LIFE TO MY CHILDREN, and I WOULD TAKE THEM TO DAILY MASS EVERY DAY. Now this was a desperate mother praying for the life of her daughter , whom she so much wanted. Someone who was never in the situation of almost losing a child cannot understand how desperate a mother can be, how she would promise anything.

Well, my prayers were obviously answered, not exactly in the way I wanted (the amniotic fluid didn't grow) but in the end Cecilia turned out to be perfectly healthy even though she was born 16 weeks early.

After all the craziness with Cecilia being in the hospital for 4 months and then at home, I just couldn't find the time to go to daily mass. As the years went by I kept trying and still I couldn't do it because our local church has mass at 8am and the boys have to be in school at 8:55am so there's no time.

Recently I prayed that I would find a way to take the kids to church every day and soon after it occurred to me that we can go to Blessed Sacrament at 5:30pm. I have all the intentions of going from now on too but only if it doesn't interfere with dinner, homework etc. I hope the Blessed Mother will give me credit for doing my best.

What I've learned from this is that we should never promise God or the Blessed Mother anything because we don't know if we can keep our promise, we can always promise to do our best though. I told this to Teddy and he learned the lesson.

I'd really like to know people's opinions about this since it's something I've been thinking and worrying about for the past 3 1/2 years. I'm hoping that whoever reads this will leave a comment. It can be in English or Romanian, it doesn't matter.


Michelle said...

Hi Irina,

I just discovered you had a blog (tonight), through Kelly's blog.

What a blessing your family is! And that your prayers were answered through the intercession of the Blessed Mother and St. Gianna Beretta Molla.

I don't think it is wrong to make a promise to God at all. In the Act of Contrition we say, "I firmly resolve, WITH THE HELP OF THY GRACE....(insert promise that you say, depending on which version you say)" I emphasize "with the help of Thy grace" because we fall. There are all kinds of promises we make to God. Our marriage vows, baptismal vows, renewing them, etc.

You did the right thing in asking God to help you find a way to keep your promise. The circumstances may change on when and where you can attend Mass. For now, He has provided you a way at the 5:30 Mass. Don't beat yourself up if circumstances get in the way, just ask for His help.

I consider it a blessing that He gives us these circumstances to make such lofty promises and reminds us of them. Actual grace to sanctify us. A sign of how much He loves us. And Cecilia too!

Tirzah said...

I think we've all made promises to God that we haven't kept. God knows our hearts and sees all things, so He knew when you made that promise that you wouldn't be able to keep it, at least not everyday, and He still gave you Cecelia. My mom said that before she had children she had this fantasy about taking her well-behaved children to daily Mass, but reality got in the way. I don't think you've failed to keep your promise; I think sometimes the promises we make to God are not taken literally by Him, but as a measure of our desire for something. Abraham promised to sacrifice his son to God, but God spared him from keeping his promise. God knows how grateful you are for Cecelia, and He doesn't attach strings to His gifts. He gave you and Dominic the daughter you prayed for because He wanted you to have her, not because you promised to go to Mass everyday. You have legitimate obstacles to attending daily Mass, and I'm sure God doesn't want you to pull the boys out of school to keep your promise. You take good care of your family, you feed them, you give them a clean environment and good food; all of that is God's work and if you can add daily Mass to it without sacrificing something else that's great, but I'm sure God doesn't want you to trade anything off that list for daily Mass. One of my brothers once said it would be really cool if we could hear God's voice in our ear telling us what to do each day. I responded that God talks to me all day long; He says "Change my diaper, read to me, bandage my cut, take me for a walk, sing me to sleep..." so even if you don't make it to Mass with your kids everyday, you're still doing the things He asks of you.

Irina S. said...

Thank you Michelle and Tirzah! This is just what I needed to hear.