Any mother can tell you that motherhood requires daily sacrifices, both large and small. Mothers of toddlers are especially aware of the sacrifices because of the almost constant physical demands of the “littles,” and even more so when there is a baby in the mix. As Catholic moms we can look at the cross and take hope, mindful of the great love poured out for us. Baby Charlie came into my life reminding me of this truth and drawing me into a new level of love.
Charlie’s mom is my closest friend, Brooke. She and her husband have been an example of this Christ-like, unconditional love. This year, twenty-four weeks into her pregnancy, this mother of two toddlers was rushed to the operating room and delivered Charlie by an emergency cesarean. I watched Brooke give the same “Yes” to her mission as Jesus did in the garden. She took up the cross of caring for fragile, preemie Charlie, as well as her two toddlers at home. And I saw that a cross like this one has many aspects: the physical demands of the surgery, pumping milk every three hours, emotional swings as Charlie did better or worse, not to mention the financial responsibility and learning to live a new “normal” at home.
We all have our own crosses to bear in this world. They can either keep us weighed down, or they can become as glorious and triumphant as Christ’s was. They are elevated in this way when we unite our sufferings with Christ’s and allow them to bring us closer to him. Without this union, suffering is just suffering. Both Brooke and her husband have faithfully taken up the cross that they have been given, but it is clear that they are doing it with the help of Jesus, his mother Mary, and all the saints. Because of baby Charlie, his parents feel that they are in a deeper place of prayer and love, and their closeness to Jesus is bringing about great joy in this world. Through their faith and example, many people have felt led back into daily Rosaries and prayer. I am encouraged when I think of Charlie and his family, who are all bearing their cross with love, faith, and God’s grace.
Thank you, Lord, for sending Baby Charlie, and for showing us all your own sacrificial way to love.