Sunday, 17 August 2014
THE DUTIES OF THE PREGNANT WOMAN - From A Sermon By St John Vianney
I am going to talk to you as simply as I possibly can, so that you can easily understand what your duties are and carry them out. I tell you: 1. That as soon as a woman is pregnant, she should say some prayers or give some alms. Better still, if she can do so, she should have a Mass said to ask the Blessed Virgin to take her under her protection, so that she may obtain from God the blessing that this little child may not die without having received holy Baptism. If a mother truly had the religious spirit, she would say to herself:
"Ah! If I could only be sure of seeing this little child becoming a saint, of seeing him for all eternity by my side, singing the praises of God! What a joy that would be for me!"
But no, my dear brethren, that is not the thought which occupies the mind of an expectant mother. She will experience, rather, a devouring resentment on beholding herself in this state and perhaps the thought of even destroying the fruit of her womb will come to her. Oh, dear God! Can the heart of a Christian mother conceive such a crime? Yet we shall see some of them who unashamedly will have entertained such homicidal thoughts! 2. I tell you that an expectant mother who wishes to preserve her child for Heaven should avoid two things. The first is carrying loads which are too heavy and lifting her arms to take something; this could be injurious to her poor child and cause its death. The second thing to be avoided is the taking of remedies which could be too harsh on her child or which could heat her blood to an extent which could be fatal to it. Husbands should overlook a great many things which they would not put up with at any other time. If they will not do this for the sake of the mother, let them do it for the sake of the little child. For perhaps the child might lose the grace of Holy Baptism, which would be the greatest evil of all!
3. As soon as a mother sees her confinement approaching, she should go to Confession -- and for many reasons. The first is that many women die during their confinements, and if she should have the misfortune to be in a state of sin, she would be damned. The second is that being in a state of grace, all the sufferings and the pains which she will endure will gain merit for Heaven. The third is that God will not fail to give her all the blessings which she will desire for her child. A mother at her confinement should preserve modesty as far as is possible in her state and never lose sight of the fact that she is in the presence of God and in the company of her Guardian Angel. She should never eat meat on the forbidden days without permission, a practice which would draw down punishment upon herself and her child.
4. A child should never be left longer than twenty-four hours without being baptised.