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Also of interest, the U.S. bishops yesterday approved a rite of blessing for expectant parents and unborn children, which Louisville’s Archbishop Joseph Kurtz described as “a very tangible way to witness pastorally and sacramentally to the life of the unborn child.” Included in the “Order for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb” is this prayer:

May almighty God, who has created new life now bless the child in your womb. The Lord has brought you the joy of motherhood: May he now bless you with a safe and healthy pregnancy. You thank the Lord today for the gift of your child: May he bring you and your child one day to share in the unending joys of heaven.

I am reminded of a Hebraic tradition, recently explained to me by a priest and Scripture scholar. It is, or at least it was, customary for a pregnant Jewish mother to recite special prayers while carrying the baby in her womb. She prays for the child—and with the child—thus giving the little one his first lesson in prayer. And so Jesus learned to address his Father with human words, as Mary prayed throughout those silent and expectant months.



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