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My Baby’s Vocation: Reflecting on Pregnancy with the Benedictus

How do you even describe pregnancy?

I’m 28 weeks pregnant. TWENTY-EIGHT WEEKS.  This baby is coming, and she is coming SOON.  This is my first pregnancy to go past the first trimester (I have two beautiful little babies in heaven), and everything about it has been overwhelming and exciting and filled to the brim with anxiety and joy and fear and awe of our amazing Lord.  How do you even describe pregnancy?  How do you describe to someone what it feels like when the baby kicks you?  When Elizabeth speaks of the baby “leaping in her womb,” oh wow, it’s so different when you have a little one kickboxing right inside your abdomen.  It’s wild.

Physically, I’ve had an easy pregnancy.  Not too sick, not too tired, nothing too rough.  Praise be to God.  Emotionally—whoa.  Whoa.  There is a new bread of anxiety that I have never experienced before.  I’m a chronic worrier, and anxiety has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time.  Add to that mix a little baby girl coming on her way—and all of the pregnancy hormones!   There have been tears and fears.

Truly, it has been tough for me to put my faith in the Lord during this time.  I wish that trust in our loving father came more naturally to me.  But it is a constant effort to refocus my attention towards God’s amazing plan for this little girl.  Instead, I end up drowning in worries about my own limitations and brokenness.

Zechariah and Me

But, as always, the loving Father is so incredibly good to me.  I’ve found such joy and inspiration from perhaps an unlikely source.  I don’t know if you’ve had much experience with the Canticle of Zechariah, the Benedictus.  Lots of people encounter in in the Liturgy of the Hours—it’s said every day during morning prayer.  I’m not much of a Liturgy of the Hours buff, but it’s SUCH a gorgeous prayer, and such a beautiful way to start the morning.

As a bit of an overview, The Benedictus is taken from Luke 1:68–79.  It’s title, “Benedictus,” translates to “Blessed Be The Lord God,” which is the first line of the prayer.

It’s story is incredibly applicable to my situation.  God works a profound miracle, and Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, becomes pregnant with John the Baptist.  But Zechariah doubts in the Lord.  Due to a lack of trust, Zechariah’s voice was taken away.

Believe me, during this pregnancy, I’ve definitely had moments of doubt in which I TOTALLY would’ve deserved having my voice taken away.  I can so relate with Zechariah’s confusion, doubt, and questioning of the Lord in face of the profound miracle of life.  I have the miracle of a new life, here, within me, and still my heart is clouded with doubt.

The Benedictus

When his son (John the Baptist) is born, Zechariah’s voice is restored.  The prayer of praise and trust that he gives the Lord upon recovering his voice is what we now pray as the Benedictus.  It is so beautiful, I couldn’t help by include the whole thing here.  I’d love it if you prayed it with me:

 

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!

He has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 

He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David,

as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

A savior who would free us from our foes, from the hands of all who hate us.

So his love for our fathers is fulfilled and his holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham our father to grant us, that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,

might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

As for you, child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the most High;

for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

to give knowledge of salvation to his people, by the forgiveness of their sins.

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, 

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 

to guide our feet into the way of peace.

(Source: lordcalls.com/dailyprayer/the-benedictus)

 

Reflection

I just…wow.  This prayer has blown me away this pregnancy.  Each line speaks an overwhelming truth to my heart, each stanza cements my trust in the Lord:

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel! He has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.  He is our God, His love for us is so overwhelming.

He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, A savior who would free us from our foes, from the hands of all who hate us.  He sent us His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins.  Hope beyond all hopes, we were saved from sin and darkness

So his love for our fathers is fulfilled and his holy covenant remembered. He swore to Abraham our father to grant us, that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. He never fails in His promises.  We fail in our promises, but He never does.  He has promised to love my little girl, to work His plan through her.  How could I not trust His promise?

As for you, child, you shall be called a prophet of God, the most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people, by the forgiveness of their sins.

WOW.  Wow.  So I know here that he was talking about John the Baptist, the great prophet to prepare the way of Christ.  But as I feel my little baby girl kicking me, I am overwhelmed by her vocation.  By the plan He has for her.  For she will be called to do her part to prepare the way of the Lord.  She will be call to be a light of Christ, to share with others the joy of salvation, of forgiveness.

Could anything fill a mother’s heart with more joy?  You, my child, my little baby girl, will be a bright, shining light of Christ, you will go forth and reach out to the hearts of those who don’t know Him yet.  You, my daughter, my beloved one, will help bring the joy of forgiveness to those who long for freedom from sin.

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

And, by living out her vocation, my little baby girl will bring God’s light to others.  She will share hope with the hopeless, those who are lost in the shadows.  She will be called to guide people’s feet in the way of peace.

I’m so overwhelmed.  I’m so overjoyed.

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  • Paola @ Swallow the World - This is such a beautiful reflection!! I pray that you have a good labor and may God always guide you and your daughter to be the holy women He’s calling you to be.November 29, 2018 – 3:38 pmReplyCancel

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