The 2016 March for Life was a snowy, scaled-down, but spirited demonstration through eerily empty government buildings and museums (closed by the “state of emergency” declared in anticipation of the blizzard). More photos and follow-up to come.
In the quiet shut-in winter days that followed I have been thinking more and more about the experience of the courageous birth mothers who find themselves in crisis pregnancies and yet are able to bring the pregnancy to full term and decide to put up their children for adoption. These stories are the “quiet shut-in” moments of the pro-life movement.
During this Year of Mercy, let us turn for a moment to consider the corporal and spiritual works of mercy done by birth mothers for the children they cannot keep. We have to thank them, and also our own mothers who said “yes.”
Dear Birth Mother,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
The shock of finding yourself pregnant was not what you were expecting. I didn’t arrive in your life as the hoped for child of a married home; perhaps you couldn’t even consider me as the “love child” of a serious relationship. Maybe I just seemed like a reminder of a poor choice, or the proof of a situation you weren’t so proud of. It’s okay that you couldn’t raise me and keep me, because when I came like a stranger at your door…but you welcomed me (Cf. Mt 25:35). Thank you.
I was hungry and you gave me to eat.
Like any stranger, I didn’t have anything to eat, I didn’t carry any provisions of my own. But you let me share of the sustenance of your own body. You let me make demands on your health and on your independence. Thank you.
I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink.
Not only did you share your food and your drink with me, but you satisfied my thirst for righteousness by your mercy. I could not ask anyone to defend my rights as a human being, to protect my place to belong in the world as a matter of justice. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (Mt 5:6), and you gave me to drink of your righteousness, even though I was a stranger in your life. Thank you.
I was naked and your gave me clothing.
You covered me within your own body, and let me hide in the shelter of your heart. Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb (Job 1:21), but for nine months before that I was wrapped in your body’s embrace. Thank you.
I was in prison and you visited me.
Even though it wasn’t easy, you never left me alone. You could turn away from other people, but when I had no where else to go, you stayed with me. And your heart-beat and your voice kept me company, they were the first sounds I ever heard. I grew and found it tight inside the womb, but you stayed with me and let me “take up space” until everyone knew I was there in my little cell! That couldn’t have been easy when you started to show. Thank you.
I needed prayers and you prayed for me.
When you decided to put me up for adoption, you prayed for my future. Even if you hadn’t gone to Church a lot or known all the prayers by heart, you prayed to God for the life that I had ahead of me. You dreamed of my birthdays, and my first adventures, and all the good things and painful things that I would have to go through to grow up. You also prayed that the adoptive family would give me all the things that you couldn’t give me. Thank you.
And, so, dear Birth Mother, I thank you and I take my turn to pray for you wherever you may be. Because of your mercy, I am alive now, and because of your mercy someday the King will say to you:
‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (Mt 25:40)
Hope to see you in Heaven, Birth Mom, thank you for your mercy.
In honor of the birth mother of one of my religious sisters who was adopted at birth through Catholic Charities.
Sr. Maria Theotókos Adams, SSVM
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Year of Mercy