Yesterday was the Feast Day of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus. As I drove through dark, empty streets to an early morning mass, I had time to reflect on the tiny miracles God had bestowed upon my family. The names of these little miracles are Oliver and Olivia.
February 7, 1985, my husband and I were blessed to become the parents of our precious firstborn, a daughter. The next seven years, we were blessed with two sons and our family was complete; or so we thought. February 7, 2007 was the day we were proud to become grandparents to a sweet granddaughter. Two years later, we celebrated the birth of her brother, our first grandson.
With each milestone our family celebrated, we have grown in number, in faith and in grace. We have shared sacraments together including baptisms, first communions and weddings. The years have brought good times and precious memories as well as hardships, illness and difficult times.
One such difficult time was the inability of our eldest son and his wife to conceive. Each wedding anniversary for them was a time to celebrate, but also a reminder of the fact they remained a family of two and childless. They heard the usual comments, “it will happen when the time is right…” The love between the two of them and their love for Christ was evident as was the longing for a child. It is natural for a man and wife to want to share their love with a child created by their love and God. A child that is not only apart of their family, but also God’s family – God’s child.
As a mother, my heart ached for them and the emptiness they felt. As a Catholic, I knew that I had to put my trust in God and wait for His Will. Still, I felt I should do something! I remembered hearing a story about Mother Teresa. It was said that upon hearing a young couple lament over their infertility, Mother advised the woman to wear a Miraculous Medal and pray for our Mother Mary’s intercession. The story goes that the couple returned a year later to inform Mother Teresa they had conceived.
So, in early 2018, I purchased a Miraculous Medal, had it blessed and wore it around my neck. Our family prayed and put our trust in the Lord and we waited.
Ten months later, I took a trip with my daughter and two grandchildren. While in my hotel room, my Miraculous Medal broke off the chain around my neck and fell to the floor. I picked it up and quickly reattached the medal. It had never done that before.
Upon returning home; I was relaxing with my husband and telling him all about my adventure, when there was a knock on our front door. We greeted my son and his wife and soon learned that the day we had prayed and wished for had come! My husband and I cried tears of joy upon learning our daughter-in-law was indeed with child!
We thanked God for His answer to our prayers. I thought about the medal around my neck. I decided I would continue to wear it as a prayer for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. A few short weeks later, I looked down and saw just the chain on my chest; the medal was gone. I knew it was a sign from above that there was no need to worry.
A friend of mine long ago said, “When God answers prayers, He does it in a big way, so that you know it is Him!”. This was never more true, than the day my son phoned me with the news that there was not only one baby, but two! He and his wife would be blessed with twins!
Ezekiel 28:26, “then they shall know that I, the Lord, am their God!”
June 12, 2019, our little family grew by two and our number of grandchildren doubled in a matter of minutes! Two perfect little miracles were born!
Turning into the church parking lot yesterday, I could not help but joyfully laugh at God’s goodness. The past three years have been a lesson in trust, perseverance and faith. I thought about Saints Joachim and Anne; how they endured years of infertility before giving birth to the child who would become the mother of us all. Then they became the grandparents of the Savior of the world.
James 1:3-4, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Every time I looked into the eyes of a newborn – my daughter, my sons, my grandchildren – I saw God. I saw His handiwork. His handiwork is always perfect.
James 1:16-18, “all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the Word of Truth that we may be a kind of first fruit of His creatures.