Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
(I Samuel 1:9-20; Mark 1:21-28)
The couple had been hoping for a baby for years. As they had not conceived, they decided to adopt. Fortunately, they were awarded a baby. Then the woman became pregnant. Soon enough they had two children to care for. Today’s first reading tells a similar story.
Hannah spends so much time praying for a child that she appears to overdo it. The priest Eli chides her for drinking to excess, only to learn that his criticism is excessive. Then he blesses Hannah, and she and her husband conceive a child.
Many wonder if it is wrong to seek expert advice today in order to conceive. Or, should a couple just go on praying if they want children? The Church teaches that fertility counselling can be advantageous as long as the couple realizes that not everything recommended by the medical profession is morally licit. In vitro fertilization, for example, wrongfully separates the unitive and procreative dimensions of marital relations. In any case, prayer should accompany all efforts to conceive. We pray not only that we may have children if that is our desire but that our children grow strong in faith and in love,