Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blessing of the unborn child

Last week dear friends of our family lost their baby in delivery. We have added them to the special place in our prayer list for parents who have lost children. Sadly, this list is not a short one.

In a recent article I was reminded that the Catholic Church approved prayers in March to be said for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb (see here). The prayers we have received for our unborn children by the priests we have been blessed to have been spiritual children to are quite fond memories I will keep with me always. I have no idea how widespread the practice is, but every parish we have been parishioners of has made a special effort to pray over the pregnant women of the community at the solea. Below, I post both the new approved Catholic version and an Orthodox version I found at the Saint Gregory Palamas Outreach website (see here).

I would be remiss if I didn't add... If you are a parent that has suffered the loss of your child in the womb, I would like to point you to the Lost Innocents website. It provides support, information, and a prayers for you and for those that wish to pray for you. Please make use of it and tell others about it so that they can be made aware of this important resource.

Orthodox Prayers for Pregnant Mother and Unborn Child
O Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ our God, the Source of life and immortality, I thank Thee, for in my marriage Thou has blest me to be a recipient of Thy blessing and gift; for Thou, O Master, didst say: Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.

I thank Thee and pray: Bless this fruit of my body that was given to me by Thee; favor it and animate it by Thy Holy Spirit, and let it grow a healthy and pure body, with well-formed limbs.

Sanctify its body, mind, heart, and vitals, and grant this infant that is to be born an intelligent soul; establish him in the fear of Thee.

A faithful angel, a guardian of soul and body, do thou vouchsafe him. Protect, keep, strengthen, and shelter the child in my womb until the hour of his birth. But conceal him not in his mother's womb; Thou gavest him life and health.

O Lord Jesus Christ, into Thine almighty and paternal hands do I entrust my child. Place him upon the right hand of Thy grace, and through Thy Holy Spirit sanctify him and renew him unto life everlasting, that he may be a comminucant of Thy Heavenly Kingdom. Amen.

* * *

O All-Merciful Christ our God, look down and protect me, Thy handmaiden, from fear and from evil spirits that seek to destroy the work of Thy hands. And when my hour and time is come, deliver me by Thy grace.

Look with compassionate eye and deliver me, Thy handmaiden, from pain. Lighten mine infirmity in the time of my travail and grant me fortitude and strength for birthgiving, and hasten it by Thine almighty help.

For this is Thy glorious work, the power of Thine omnipotence, the work of Thy grace and tender-heartedness. Amen.

* * *

My most gracious Queen, my hope, O Mother of God, the joy of those in sorrow, help me, for I am helpless.

Intercede thou and pray thy Son, Christ our God, that He lighten for me this season while I am with child, and that He ease the burden of heaviness of me, this unworthy handmaiden, and bestow His blessings upon the child to which I am giving birth.

For I know no other help save thee, no other hope save thee, O Mother of God that will guard and protect me and my child. For by thine intercession and help we send up glory and thanksgiving for all things unto the One God in Trinity, the Creator of all, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Catholic Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb

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