January 9.  Infertility. Ordinary time in year 2 begins with readings from the book of Samuel, an important account of the history of Israel, but also of the important people who played a special role. The book of Samuel begins with a story of Elkanah a man with two wives, one who has children and Hannah who is infertile and is taunted by the other wife.  Children are regarded as a natural aspect of married life, infertility is a sadness but even seen as a curse in some cultures and can be a great strain on a marriage too. Infertility treatment has become common today and some couples spend R1000s to have their own baby.  John and Paula consulted medical specialists and also their priest.  He explained that it is quite right for couples who want to have their love bear fruit in this way. However the Church teaches that children are not a right but a gift from God. Couples are asked to consider other options. Adoption or fostering are also ways of responding to that need to love.

Reflect, share. Scripture: In the bitterness of her soul Hannah prayed to the Lord with many tears and made a vow saying, “If you will take notice of the distress of your servant and give me a man-child I will give him to the Lord for the whole of his life.”  Eli, the priest supposed she was drunk but she said, “I have been speaking from the depth of my grief and my resentment.”  Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of him.” From Sam 1: 9-20. Pope Francis.  In situations where a child is desired at any cost as a right for one’s self-fulfilment adoption and foster care correctly understood manifest an important aspect of parenting and raising of children.  They make people aware that children whether natural, adoptive or taken in foster care, are persons in their own right, to be accepted, loved and cared for and not just brought into this world.  AL 180.  Pray: for strength and wisdom for couples experiencing infertility. Choose appropriate action.