On Saturday, some lovely friends of mine gifted me with a Catholic birth blessing. Step One was to empty out the house, so my husband took all the children to the Salisbury train museum and then over to a friends' house to romp around on their forested acreage.
|Margaret and Mary|
|Catching crayfish and salamanders|
The baby blessing was based on the organizational ideas provided over at Catholic Missionary Family.
|Prayer bracelet and prayer intentions|
We prayed as a group, with prayers taken from the above website. Each person prayed while holding beads, which were then formed into a bracelet which I can wear during labor to remind me of the prayers said for me.
All: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Leader: Sisters, let us bless the Lord Jesus, who in the womb of the Virgin Mary became one of us. Blessed be God now and forever.
All: Blessed be God now and forever.
Leader: God, the Lord of life, by His will brings every human being into existence and He rules and sustains the life of every one of us. Our faith tells us of God's particular care over those born of a Christian marriage, since through the sacrament of baptism they will receive the gift of sharing in the divine life itself. The reason for the blessing of a mother-to-be is that she may wait her hour of delivery in faith and hope and, as the partner of God's own love, may already cherish with her maternal love the child in her womb.
Reading of the Word of GodLeader: Sisters let us listen to the words of the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
(At this point a volunteer reads Luke 1:39-45)
Leader: Christ the Lord, the blessed fruit of Mary's womb, by the mystery of His incarnation filled the world with His grace and goodness. Let us therefore raise our voices to praise Him and give Him our intentions.
[Here my friends read aloud to me the prayer intentions they had for me and the baby, as written on card stock papers I got to keep. I think I will keep them by my bedside to read at night when I have insomnia or am feeling anxious.]
Prayer of Blessing
All: Lord God, Creator of the human race, your Son, through the working of the Holy Spirit, was born of a woman, so that He might pay the age-old debt of sin and save us by His redemption. Receive with kindness the prayer of your servant N., as she asks for the birth of a healthy child. Grant that she may safely deliver her child to be numbered among Your family, to serve You in all things, and to gain eternal life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
All: Hail Holy Queen
Leader: May God, who chose to make known and to send the blessing of eternal salvation through the motherhood of the Blessed Virgin, bless us and keep us in His care, now and forever. Amen
Then we prayed one decade of the Rosary, meditating on the mystery of the Nativity.
My friends went home with candles, so that when I go into labor, they can choose to light a candle and remember to pray for me (us).
Lastly, we enjoyed a superb potluck luncheon and lots of good ladies' chat--much of the conversation among all these mothers of large families turning to "how do you?" How do you . . . homeschool with little ones around? Handle Common Core curricula as we look toward the future? Organize children's toys? Teach children the value of money? Find time for mental prayer? Give birth in such-and-such setting and what do you do with your other children?
What a wonderful gift from my friends and a reminder that even a fifth pregnancy deserves prayerful preparation and a fifth baby is worth celebrating.