"O vos omnes qui transitis per viam adtendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus?"
On Palm Sunday, the people welcomed Jesus with cloaks strewn across his path, hailed him with palms, and cries of "Hosanna in the highest"
In the chapel, on retreat, I smiled as we held our palms. I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving to God, and looked at the stained glass window of the Holy Family. There was a baby growing in my womb.
Like the excited masses at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when I told Mark, he was overjoyed. We started picking out names, looking at strollers, reading reviews of hospitals and baby books, and planning how we would rearrange the furniture to make our loft apartment ready for a baby. We had wanted this for so long.
During Holy Week, the apostles quickly grew troubled at the sayings of Jesus, the priests and elders plotted his death, and Jesus said, "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour."
Only a few hours after I had shared the news with Mark, we were going out to celebrate. I went to the bathroom and could tell that something was wrong. Mark and I grew troubled. We prayed, and called the doctor, and did all we could to be spared from that hour. But on Holy Thursday we learned, just as the apostles would learn, that the hour had come. Our baby had died.
On retreat, I had prayed to come to a better understanding of the cross, Christ's suffering of love, and to grow closer to the heart of Mary. I didn't know that God would take me so literally. But it is not because of that prayer that our baby died. That is something we cannot know yet.
On Holy Thursday evening, as the priest washed the feet of the twelve men, I looked at an image of Mary. She was proudly showing the baby Jesus to St. Dominic. I told her, "Mary, my baby died, and he hadn't done anything wrong!" In my heart, I heard, "My innocent baby died too." And so I stand with her at the foot of the cross today, and we try to understand.
We named the baby Raphael, because God heals. In time, He will heal our hearts. God only plans the best for those who love him, and right now, I keep telling God that something really wonderful had better come of this, especially since it hurts so terribly. Good things already have come of it. Mark and I now know it's possible for us to have children. We are closer, and we pray together more. I pray that the fruits don't stop there. And we will see our little Raphael at the Resurrection. With Mary and the apostles, we are waiting for that day.
"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."