Raphael (and Tobit)

Robin and I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and Mass intentions over the course of the past few weeks. Our baby (Raphael) was delivered on Wednesday evening and a small private funeral will take place this week or next.

Raphael was chosen as Wednesday was the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels and as we did not know the sex of our baby, it seemed appropriate to give the name of an angel who being pure spirit, is neither male nor female. But it is important to give the baby a name by which they may be remembered and individually prayed for nonetheless.

Furthermore as Catholics will be aware, the archangel Raphael is associated with God’s healing ministry, appearing in the book of Tobit, an extract of which we had as a reading at our wedding. Raphael is sent from God to heal and protect Tobit and his son and daughter-in-law, Tobias and Sarah. All three were beset by trials and difficulties  but remained steadfast in their faith and eventually enjoyed God’s blessings and mercy.*

One of my favourite lines of Scripture is Romans 8:28  “And we know that to them that love God all things work together unto good: to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints”.

Even though terrible things may happen, while he has not willed them, God will still work to bring about good consequences for his people, from even the greatest of suffering.

I can already see several graces occurring from the experience of discovering your unborn child has died in utero, but that doesn’t make the grief any the less raw. Life seems a little less rich, a little more bleak, from the moment you discover a positive line on a pregnancy test, it becomes impossible to detach from the fact that there is a little life growing inside you and so for the last few months we have been adjusting to the fact that a new baby is on the way as well as looking forward to their arrival. An event that will not now happen. Our precious baby has died and can never be replaced.

But we named the baby Raphael in the expectation of divine healing and my hope is that in time, our experience may be of benefit and consolation to others.

*The Apocrypha is sadly all too often overlooked by RE syllabi, while I’d encountered the term in other literature as a schoolchild, it was never mentioned, not even in passing, as being an important part of Catholic cultural heritage. The book of Tobit is particularly rich and pertinent to Catholic spirituality as it emphasises the sanctity of marriage, Angelic intercession and the importance of prayer in daily life, as well as fasting and almsgiving as atonement for sin.

6 thoughts on “Raphael (and Tobit)

  1. I pray that you and your family are blessed with peace. What a beautiful name Raphael is. Such beautiful connotations. I will remember him and your family in my prayers.
    Thank you for expounding on the book of Tobit. It’s not often mentioned. I learned something today.

  2. I am truly sorry for your loss; it’s heart breaking. I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now it seems. We’re going through something similar actually though. We found out at our 20 week ultrasound that our son has posterior urethral valves and that his kidneys had stopped functioning. So, we’re carrying him to term but he is extremely unlikely to survive as his lungs have probably not developed properly enough to be able to breath. We are planning a small funeral for afterwards. He’s due at the end of Nov. Nevertheless as tragic as the news was it has brought our family closer together and to our Catholic faith; our trust in God and in his promise has only been strenghtened and we actually feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to bear witness to our belief in the sacredness of all life. All life is precious.

    1. Thank you so very much for sharing this and also for this incredible pro-life witness. I am so sorry for your devastating news.

      Please rest assured we will remember you into our daily prayers and I will offer a novena to St Gerard Majella for the wellbeing of your wife and child.

      1. Hi, thank you so much for your words of encouragement. It was a bit of a struggle, to get through to the hospital that we were not going to end our child’s life and that we were interested in options for savings his life not for terminating it. We actually were in surgery to zap the valves but there was a technical problem with the laser and the operation had to be postponed. At the next app. his kidneys had stopped producing urine and his numbers were headed the wrong way. We have been on a roller coaster of emotion since then but our faith has kept us strong. Our 18 month old daughter has helped us get through some tough moments too. He’s due at the end of November. We’re praying we get to see him alive for at least a little while and that we get to hold him and look into his eyes before he leaves us. My wife wears a necklace of St. Gerrard that her parents got her in California. We joke sometimes that he’s been slacking off a bit. You know, so many people think we’re the most courageous people, but we don’t think we’re doing anything anyone else wouldn’t do, if only they realized just how wonderful it is to get to hold your son even for a minute. We’re sorry for your loss again and may God bless you, your family and your work.

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