Form of Prayer for pregnant matrons.
"Omnipotent God, Creator of all things visible and invisible, of whom all the whole family in heaven and on earth is named; to Thee, most revered and beloved Father, we, Thy rational creatures, have recourse, inasmuch as Thou, with special counsel and deliberation, didst found our race, forming the body with wonderful wisdom from the dust of the earth, and inspiring the soul from Thyself, that we might be Thine image; and although Thou mightest have produced us all at the same time, even as (Thou didst) the angels, yet it seemed otherwise to Thy wisdom, so that a human race might be multiplied by male and female, in accordance with holy wedlock instituted by Thee; therefore Thou didst deign to bless them that they might increase and multiply, and fill not only the earth, but also the choirs of angels.
"O eternal God and Father! may praise and glory be to Thy name because of all thy wonderful works in us. I likewise give grateful thanks to Thy clemency that Thou hast willed that I should not only be born of this thy celebrated creature (so that I also should fill up the number of the elect), but likewise hath deigned to bless me by placing me in the matrimonial state, and given unto me the fruit of the womb. The gift is Thine, the paternal grace is Thine, O Lord, Father of spirits and of all flesh! wherefore, with humble heart, seeking counsel and aid, I fly to Thee alone, that what Thou hast formed in my womb may be guarded with Thy strength, and preserved to a happy delivery. For I know, O Lord, that man's steps are not in his own power, and no one is able (of himself) to direct his way ; since then we are weak and infirm, we ought to guard against all the snares which, by thy permission, the evil spirit lays for us, and to prevent the calamities into which we are precipitated through our own inconsiderateness. With Thee, however, wisdom is infinite; Thou renderest safe and secure from all evil whomsoever Thou wishest well, through Thine angels.
"Wherefore I also betaking myself to Thee in this my necessity, 0 Father, full of mercy, beg that Thou wouldst look upon me with the eye of Thy mercy, and preserve me safe from every dangerous accident. Be Thou a consolation to me and my beloved husband, O God of all consolation! so that we, having seen Thy blessing, may, with joyful heart, adore Thy fatherly love, and with all willingness servo Thee. I complain not of the chastisement which thou hast imposed upon our sex, that our conceptions and birth are accompanied with pain. I humbly beg this only, that Thou wouldst enable me to bear Thy chastisement, and do Thou grant a happy issue. If our prayers in this behalf be heard, and Thou dost grant to us offspring sound and perfect in its members, we promise to consecrate and return it to Thee; so that Thou may continue to be our and our offspring's most clement Lord and Father, as we, with our posterity, purpose to remain Thy faithful children.
"Hear, O most merciful Father, the prayer of Thy very humble handmaid and the desire of our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, who, for our sakes, being made an infant, deigned to assume flesh in the womb of the blessed Virgin; now lives with Thee, and with the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, God blessed for evermore."
[The School of Infancy, p.20, c. 1633]