Hope and Humility

My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a few months and by God’s grace, we received news of a bundle of joy a few weeks ago.

I conducted home pregnancy tests, followed up with the school’s midwife, and proceeded to book an appointment at the gynecologist as advised.

Two weeks later, we showed up at the doctor’s with our toddler in tow who happily announced to everyone, “I want to see the baby!!”

I prepared for the worst when our gynecologist started to scrunch up his face and fell silent.

“Lord, let Your will be done.”

The day I tested positive, I announced it to our family and a couple of friends even before my husband could process it. My rationale? We’re pro-life Catholics, and no matter how short-lived our baby’s earthly existence, baby is known and loved by God.

The gynecologist informed us there was no fetus in the sac but it could have been too early, so he asked us to return in two weeks. We were pretty upset as the gynecologist had fixed the date, but we should have done our own calculations.

Two weeks flew by as our toddler kept me busy. Library, museum, playground, playdate… and the week-long fun-filled Halloween activities!

I experienced a lot of nausea and vomiting which could have provided me assurance baby is healthy. Google, however, educated me that the HCG hormone stays in your bloodstream a month or two after you lose the baby.

A day before our appointment, I succumbed to this virus my husband and child were battling. I lay in bed, feverish, nursing a painful sore throat, too weak to eat, falling in and out of uncomfortable slumber.

At 2am, I fell into despair and prayed:

Dear God, I am totally helpless and frustrated. Please help me… I really don’t know what to do

I was prompted to pick up a book from my bookshelf.  Beautiful Hope, by Dynamic Catholic, which I obtained from the Georgia Tech Catholic Center.

Beautiful Hope (Hardcover)

The book is a collection of powerful and moving reflections of people who struggled with cancer, Auschwitz etc.  These people did not despair but rooted their hope in Jesus Christ. Their eye is always on the prize – eternal life.

Father Mike Schmitz shared in his essay, A Powerful Force, an example of why two out of three people stranded out at sea survived:

Hope did not mean burying his head in the sand and merely “wishing” things would change. It meant facing reality and working toward that change. If you desire to be a person of hope, you must be a person of two things: meaning and action.

The person that passed on had relinquished all hope of survival and fell into despair. The remaining two continued to believe they would one day be found and persisted in their survival attempts.

I finished the book with renewed hope and enjoyed peaceful slumber.

I could not make it for the gynecologist appointment the following morning and rescheduled for the upcoming Monday.

The night before our new appointment, I chanced upon our chaplain’s post about receiving the most graces and consolations in his life on his pilgrimage at Guadalupe. Encouraged, I messaged him about our situation and he promptly responded he will have a special place in his prayer for me. Our chaplain is the person I respect the most (other than my husband), so I was very touched.

I was feeling weak the morning of our appointment as I was reeling from a sore throat, cough, and runny nose. But we made it to the gynecologist.

My husband froze the first few seconds the computer screen displayed an empty sac…

The gynecologist changed the position of his apparatus and an unmistakable baby appeared, moving its limbs.

Our gynecologist congratulated us on a seemingly healthy pregnancy. Our toddler took possession of the ultrasound and hollered, “there’s a baby inside!”

IMG-20181108-WA0019

I asked our gynecologist about medication for my illness and he said to let it run its course.

We informed our families of the joyous news!

I was cranky and devoid of joy over the next few days, however. I resented coughing through the night, vomiting every day, and dreaded day-long nausea.

Today, YouTube alerted me to Father Chad Ripperger’s talk organized by Father Richard Heilmen (who started the Nineveh 90 movement). Father Chad Ripperger is the holiest and most theologically sound priest I have come across.

An hour in, the floodgates to my hardened heart opened. I was sobbing uncontrollably, touched by what Father Chad Ripperger shared:

“Once, the demon looked to me and said, “Our Lady’s power is in her humility.” What does this mean? It means we are proud or weak when we take control. Whereas when we let Christ operate through us and He has infinite power, He is omnipotent, He can accomplish anything.

Therefore, it is her humility that made Our Lady so powerful. It is Her humility that makes her the perfect instrument of Her Son. Our Lady always does God’s will in a manner that He determines and never counted the personal cost ever. Humility is a grace and we have to ask Our Lady for it.

If there is a demon that God allows in your life and brings you to spiritual warfare, don’t cower from it. Just ask God to make me strong, give me the willingness to suffer, keep me humble, and then help me to keep the course.

This was exactly what I needed to hear to overcome my self-pity. That the good Lord is in control and all I have to do is… surrender to His sovereignty, in humility.

Father Chad Ripperger recommends us to pray the Litany of Humility, a prayer our chaplain also advocates.

***

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should…

 

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