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Posted May 22, 2010
This is the third in a series of six studies Kimberly Hahn is writing based on Proverbs 31. The first was on marriage, the second on homemaking. Beloved and Blessed covers the topics of marital intimacy and parenting. Two separate chapters hold personal stories of challenges and sacrifices couples make while remaining faithful to the Church's teaching on contraception and abortion.
Training Our Hearts in Truth begins with a story of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, "Protectress of Mothers and Families." In the second month of her fourth pregnancy, Molla was found to have a serious medical condition. She refused surgery, which would necessitate an abortion, and continued the pregnancy, in the end insisting that the life of the child be saved over her own. Molla died of septic peritonitis a week after giving birth.
In the same chapter, under the heading "The Value of Suffering," Hahn writes of miscarriage and stillbirth. "It is an intensely personal loss.It feels especially painful when you long for new life and others are casting off their young through abortion," she writes. She tells a "vision" story of her sister Kari, who has been pregnant 15 times and lost eight babies in miscarriage. Later in her life Kari nursed her husband's dying grandmother, who one day had a vision of six little girls dancing around her bed, all of whom looked like one of Kari's daughters. Hahn wonders if six of the eight babies Kari miscarried could have been girls. "God knows," she writes, "but Mawmaw seemed to see a reality beyond the limits of time and space."
The chapter on Trusting God When Parenting Hurts addresses miscarriage; early infant loss; children suffering serious mental, physical, and psychological disorders; and single parenthood. The author asks how parents can "do it right" when something is so horribly wrong. How can they make sense of it all, how can a marriage survive? The answer: Acknowledge our pain and suffering so that Jesus can heal us. Hahn reminds us that God is at work in our lives, even "in the midst or all of this-the good, the bad, and the ugly."
She recalls her own experience of having had nine pregnancies, three ending in miscarriage. Following two consecutive miscarriages she was joyful yet apprehensive over a subsequent pregnancy. She suffered severe nausea, and thoughts of possible loss consumed her. She asked the advice of a priest friend who reminded her that her fears were legitimate, "but anxiety is a sin you need to confess." Hahn reports that the gripping anxiety disappeared immediately after she received absolution.
Hahn closes the chapter by reiterating Jesus' promise to comfort and fortify us and enable us to emerge victorious over our suffering. And, she writes, the best is yet to come. "Through us God is building a civilization of love in our homes-diaper by diaper, day by day!"