I have been meaning to post this article for a few days now, but have kept getting distracted by the business of life. In the most recent issue of America there is an excellent article by Christopher Pramuk titled, “A Hidden Sorrow: Praying Through Reproductive Loss.” Chris’s personal and moving reflection on the experience of prayer and relationship in the face of questions that one might describe as “reproductive theodicy,” draw the reader into an experience of recognition of our interconnectedness as members of one human family.

Here is an excerpt of Chris’s reflection:

It has not been hard for us to discover God’s healing presence in the compassion of others. The question of God’s providence, power and will, however, doggedly remains. Like Kushner, I have more or less learned not to blame God for “moral evil” or even for “natural evil” like earthquakes, disease, miscarriage. Yet like Kushner I reserve my unquenchable need to cry out in protest, grief and lamentation. Kushner asks, “Can you forgive God for creating a world in which the wrong things happen to the people you love?” My head absolves God of responsibility; my heart does not. And yet I want to forgive.

Something else, though, steals in sometimes during my prayer. The prayers and rituals of Catholicism, especially its pregnant silences, show me something of that promise hidden behind the veil, even if seen “through a glass darkly”: rumors of resurrection, of lives not lost forever but resting, turning, flowering forth again in the arms of Christ—like my sister’s children and like a twin with whom I shared my mother’s womb. Gazing deeper into the glass, I see the children of the South Bronx, Haiti, Iraq, Darfur, once buried in the rubble of neglect or violence now raised up and playing joyfully before the gates of heaven.

I had the great privilege of meeting Chris last year while we were both on retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani outside of Louisville, KY. Chris is also a Merton scholar, a brilliant one at that. In fact, I just reviewed the galley proofs of a review symposium featuring Chris’s book, Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton, in which I had the honor to participate along with Edward Kaplan and Lynn Szabo.

Chris, currently teaching in the department of theology at Xavier University, is certainly a theologian to watch. His theological instinct and his pastoral sensibility combine to provide the theological world with someone whose work lifts the community up, while challenging Christians to understand the faith they profess.

Photo: University of ND (Featured with Prof. Lawrence Cunningham)

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this very tender, heartfelt and faith-filled reflection that is at once prayerful and poetic in the best sense of the word. As I read Christopher’s sharing, with tears in my eyes, I remembered my own late mother sharing with me as a boy that she had lost a child before I was born (he was stillborn at 5 months, misdiagnosed as a tumor!). When she lost him, my Dad was in Germany during World War II.

    When I was three years old, my mother lost another child, a beautiful little girl born two months premature. It was 1949, and they could not save those babies. My mother never saw her, but my father had … and he remembered that little girl all the days of his life, till his death at the age of 81. My little sister was baptized and given the name of my mother before she slipped away after three days.

    When my brother and I buried Mom and Dad in the Winter of 2000, along with their names and dates on the tombstone, we placed between them the name “Baby Beatrice – 1949”. Through my tears as I write this, I look forward to that great Day when we will all be reunited in that Home where there is no more death and I will finally meet the little sister we lost … and our older brother!

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