“Guard the life that is yours; defend it from all the craft and spite of the pitiless foe.”
A common practice of the Catholic Church that dates to the Middle Ages is a blessing of expectant mothers. According to the Roman Ritual, this was practiced each Sunday and the priest would even visit the homes of his parishioners to bless women who were pregnant.
It is a beautiful tradition, one that shows the care the Church has always had for the dignity of all human life, from “womb to tomb” as some would say.
Below is a portion of a much longer prayer for expectant mothers from the Roman Ritual. It is a powerful prayer, one that invokes God’s protection and calls down angels to surround the woman and her child.
Lord God, Creator of all things, mighty and awesome, just and forgiving, you alone are good and kind. You saved Israel from all manner of plagues, making our forefathers your chosen people, and hallowing them by the touch of your Spirit. You, by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, prepared the body and soul of the glorious Virgin Mary to be a worthy dwelling for your Son. You filled John the Baptist with the Holy Spirit, causing him to leap with joy in his mother’s womb. Accept the offering of a humble spirit, and grant the heartfelt desire of your servant, N. who pleads for the safety of the child you allowed her to conceive. Guard the life that is yours; defend it from all the craft and spite of the pitiless foe. Let your gentle hand, like that of a skilled physician, aid her delivery, bringing her offspring safe and sound to the light of day. May her child live to be reborn in holy baptism, and continuing always in your service, be found worthy of attaining everlasting life; through Christ our Lord.
Lord, we beg you to visit this dwelling, and to drive away from it and from this servant of yours, N, all the enemy’s wiles. Let your holy angels be appointed here to keep her and her offspring in peace; and let your blessing + ever rest upon her. Save them, almighty God, and grant them your everlasting light; through Christ our Lord.