In our marriage prep, we'd heard about the stresses of NFP. We'd heard about the difficulties of choosing to abstain during times of fertility rather than choosing a form of birth control. We'd heard that NFP could cause fights and at times resentment. Everything we'd heard about the difficulties of NFP prior to our marriage was in the context of using NFP to avoid having. children (or TTA). Clearly, we weren't using NFP to avoid having children at this point in our marriage. It followed then, that there should be no difficulties caused by using NFP, no stress, no strain on our marriage.
It was my first Mother's Day mass after being married. The previous month I had an experience where I was sure I was pregnant. I can't explain this experience, and no test I took that month was positive. But the next cycle did arrive later than usual and with more pain than normal. During the … Continue reading Infertility as Disease: Accepting and Navigating the Medical Side of Infertility
Infertility is not merely a cross. It is an opportunity to witness to the deeper reality that we as married couples do not get to decide how our marriage is lived out. It is a witness to a motherhood and fatherhood that is lived spiritually rather than physically. It is a witness to the fact that fruitfulness is not limited to procreation. Infertility, understood in this way, is a charism. It is a call to live out fruitfulness even in the midst of barrenness.
When people open up about their crosses, we have the beautiful opportunity to become an image of the visitation. We have the option to set out and travel to the hill country in haste to rejoice with our brothers and sisters in Christ, to share in their sorrows, and to carry their burdens with them. We have an opportunity to become an image of Christ to them and to recognize Christ within their hearts. And when we dismiss the sufferings of others, either by saying that they haven't gone through their suffering long enough, or not to worry, or that it isn't a big deal, we miss that opportunity.
I am tempted to look at the Lord as Peter did and say, "Master, we have worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets" (Luke 5:5). I am tempted to look at Christ and seeing the strong wind surrounding me exclaim, "Lord, save me!" And yet, our Lord turns to us, "[stretches] out his hand and [catches us], and [says] to us, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'" (Matthew 14:31)
In letting Mary untie my heart, I give her all of these dreams and worries. I give Jesus, through His Mother, my whole self, my whole identity. And I trust, that through her intercession, that the knots that so deeply bind my heart, the knots that cause me my deepest worries and anxieties, the knots that prevent my heart from loving, will be undone.
To love is to allow Christ to first love us. How can we give what we do not have? And so we are totally dependent on Christ— Author of Life, Source of Love, Fountain of Mercy—to love others. Christ pours out His Love for us at the Cross. His Love pours forth as Blood and Water from His Heart as a fountain of Mercy for us, but we must come to the Cross to receive His Love. The Cross is not easy, and we are continually journeying towards the foot of the Cross with Christ.