By Rhonda Zweber
One of my favorite experiences of motherhood actually occurred before I officially became a mom. When I felt my babies move inside my growing tummy, I smiled and was so entertained by them, with their stretching and pushing against the wall of my womb. I tried to imagine what they were trying to accomplish with their movements. Were they figuring out how to stretch their legs and arms, or were they just trying to get my attention? Either way, they got my attention! It was absolutely amazing to know that life was growing inside of me—even long before I could feel those kicks.
Elizabeth must have felt that amazement and joy tenfold, as Mary approached her. John the Baptist leaping for joy! Can’t you just feel it?
Because I have physically felt those movements from my girls, I can place myself in that Bible story with Mary and Elizabeth, and I do so each time I pray the Joyful Mystery of the Visitation on my Rosary beads.
Life is precious at all stages, from conception to natural death. It is a gift from God.
When my daughter, Hailey, went to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. for the first time, her passion for standing up for that gift ignited. She made more trips to the march and was part of a respect life group at her public high school.
Her trip to the march in 2013 was even more impactful than just standing up for life.
Val, my husband and Hailey’s dad, was scheduled for a very invasive surgery to remove a tumor from the lining of his esophagus. I’m sure Hailey wondered if we wanted her to go to the march or stay home. She recently shared with me that although she wasn’t sure what condition her dad would be in when she got home from her trip, she was almost relieved to know that she wouldn’t be home during the surgery. She told me she felt selfish for thinking that, and I assured her that she wasn’t being selfish at all.
At one point during her trip, Hailey’s bus headed to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (This is where Pope Francis celebrated Mass during his U.S. visit and where Sally, my youngest daughter, and I attended Mass in October. It was very special for me to be in that church.) Just before arriving at the Basilica, Pat, the leader of the group and a good friend of ours, announced to the kids that Val was having surgery and asked that everyone pray for it to be a success. Hailey said that the Mass, concelebrated by many priests from different dioceses, was really special, knowing that many prayers were being sent back to Minnesota for Val.
After Mass, Hailey got my text, telling her that Val’s surgery was miraculous! Yes! Instead of having to take his entire esophagus and part of his stomach, our Divine Physician guided the hands of the skilled and gifted surgeon to be able to remove just the tumor! Hailey was able to tell everyone the great news and that their prayers were answered!
Not only did Hailey experience the tens of thousands of people marching for the right to life for each and every child of God, she experienced prayers for her dad and how important his life was to these people, even though many didn’t even know who he was.
The sanctity of life, at all stages and in all situations, is precious!
About the Author:
Rhonda Zweber and her husband of 22 years have three beautiful daughters. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Rhonda’s faith began to grow and she created the Pink Prayer Warriors ministry at her parish, St. Michael in Prior Lake, MN, to support and pray for other cancer warriors. When her cancer returned, her faith and trust in God’s plan gave her the motivation to share her journey with others and she is currently working on her second book, which documents her faith journey through cancer. Her first book, Mommy’s Hats, is her cancer story through the eyes of her youngest daughter. Rhonda has created her own blog: Relax in His Love, and you can email her at relaxinHislove@gmail.com.