January 2, 2014 was one of the greatest days of my life. My wife and I found out that after four long years of struggling with infertility we were going to be parents. Unfortunately that joy quickly dissipated when by mid January we were told that our baby had an enlarged yolk sac. We were hopeful, but knew that the chances of our baby’s survival were slim.
By the end of the month, to our great horror and pain, our baby no longer had a heartbeat. We were devastated to say the least, but what really helped to get me through the loss was my Catholic faith. The faith I grew up in, but didn’t practice devoutly since I was in my teens.
For many people, a time of loss usually shakes their faith. And to be quite honest, since the deaths of my Mom (August 3, 1998) and my Dad (May 15, 2002), my faith had taken a back burner. I went from a regular Mass goer (I was an altar boy for over 7 years) to barely a CEO (Christmas and Easter Only). I blamed the deaths of my parents on God. He’s an easy scapegoat, especially because he is unseen. I mean our society screams, “God Is Dead!” For years I was a Catholic in name only. I didn’t live my faith as I did when I was a kid. But you know, even when we turn our back on Jesus Christ, he still has ours.
Through the years, even in my “dark period”, I always turned to a poem called “Footprints in the Sand”. It’s about a man who dreams of meeting with Jesus. They are walking on the beach. For most of the man’s journey there were two sets of footprints, his and Jesus’. But at the man’s lowest point, at the time of his greatest suffering and pain, there was only one set of footprints. With hurt in his voice the man asks Jesus where he was at this low point. Jesus turns to the man and says, “My precious child. I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering when you saw only one set of footprints…That was when I carried you.”
So when I should have fell into my cycle of blaming God for the loss of my child, I did something radical instead. I decided to use that opportunity to not blame, but to glorify God. As it is written in Isaiah 55:9:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
From this tragedy, I had a revelation that even through life’s hardships, God is always there. We only have to seek him. Through the sacraments of Holy Mother Church we receive an abundance of graces. And if we are willing to put all of our trust in him, he will surely guide us through anything. “Jesus, I trust in you” are words I now live by. God bless.
Pax et bonum,
Anthony “Tony Mangia” Scillia