Carlos Tejeda

Carlos Tejeda

Thursday, 28 April 2011 10:11

The Cross of Infertility

Yesterday I·learned from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler that this week (April 24-30, 2011) is understood to be National Infertility Awareness Week by the Department of·Health and Human Services.· Her post·does a wonderful job·of pointing out some characteristic·aspects of the difficult cross·that·infertility is for Catholic married couples.·Sterility is particularly agonizing for those who have entered into covenantal sacramental marriage because of the specific vow that spouses profess,·"will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?"·

Guided by the wisdom and love of Holy Mother Church, we can be assured that when we look to the teachings of our Catholic faith, in this regard and all others too,·we will be shepherded by Christ himself away from further pain and anguish during a very difficult time, even prolong period, of life.· In Part Three - Life in Christ the Catechism of the Catholic Church has seven very help paragraphs  (# 2373-2379)xplaining the·"gift of a child".·

During this Easter season let us take some time to become familiar with the ways that we can help those around us understand the full dignity of all God's children; even·those who are not yet conceived.

If you would like more resources on this, and many other, topics please give the Office for Marriage and Family Life Office a call (217-321-1132) or shoot us an email: .  We will enjoy working closely with you, your family and friends as well as your pastor.

Author Mary Eberstadt has done a wonderful job pointing out the underlying principles that have led to the recent disturbing articles published by the likes of Time Magazine, New York Magazine and Newsweek.  Her article provides us an excellent opportunity to consider what paragraph 1652 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.  Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves."

Each married couple must take seriously the vows that they freely gave their consent to on their wedding day.  "Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?"  One of the reasons our mother, the Catholic Church, asks us to be prepared to enter into marriage only if we are open to children is because if we do otherwise it is a sure recipe for disillusionment and seemingly insufferable pain (what the above articles are all about).  

What is at the root of the phenomenon of couples wanting childless marriages (or few children in their marriages)?  Most prominently it is a contraceptive mentality that our culture makes sure we never get too far away from.  [For more on this take a look at the initiative that has been begun by Human Life International here in America.]  Eventually the crescendo to “acquire, pleasure quickly” [the work of Rev. J. Brian Bransfield] is so loud in the life of a couple that they find it very difficult to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit to “give, beauty slowly”; yet it is this total giving of self that is alone the way we as humans can find our identity as well as be in union with our Heavenly Father, our spouse and the world around us. If a couple gets married thinking they can maintain their "own" love apart from being open [more to come in other posts as to what exactly this means] to the possibility of new life (namely children) at all times/stages/seasons of their love, they are painfully mistaken.  The attitudes that close us off from lovingly receiving anything from Our Father’s will (especially children) is precisely the same attitude that will close us off from receiving God's sustaining love and grace in marriage. This whole process of becoming removed from God’s grace is what the articles are attesting to. Apart from God’s providence and will we are filled with despair, depression and we feel hopelessly burnt out.

So where is our hope to be found? Our hope is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth! And how do we touch Our Blessed Lord while we live here in central Illinois in the year 2010 (after all, it is He alone who can lead us to the Father’s House – and that’s what we really want!)? The answer we can confidently know from the lives of the Saints; we intimately encounter the Sweet Lord Jesus through our very bodies in the Sacramental life of the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – His One Body, His Immaculate Bride and Our Beloved Mother. The only antidote to the clamor of the world is the Peace we petition for in the “Agnus Dei/Lamb of God” during Mass. It is the very same peace we have the grace to receive when we enter into Sacramental Reconciliation with a humble and contrite heart. How happy we can be because the same unstained Christian dignity that was given to us at our Baptism (represented by the white baptismal garment) is still a REALITY in our life – if we will but submit ourselves to be washed in the Blood of the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29). 

Let us examine our own hearts to see if we have allowed them to become hardened to the natural order of God's life-giving love that brought about Creation itself.  Let us then help our family, friends and co-workers to understand how it is that man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself (GS 24:3) and how this is preeminently true in marriage which is the only proper context for the marital act which is furthermore the only proper way for children to be brought into the world while respecting their own inviolable human dignity.

Won't you consider having the Office for Marriage and Family Life come to your parish or school so as to help uncover the misconceptions that our culture is pouring into our own eyes, ears and hearts as well as those of our dear brothers and sisters?  We look forward to walking humbly with you and our God!