Read Your Patriarchal Blessing!

“Read Your Patriarchal Blessing!” Ensign, Dec. 2003, 62–63

“Read Your Patriarchal Blessing!”

In our home we have a Christmas tradition of decorating the house by the end of October or the beginning of November so that the spirit of Christmas comes sooner and remains longer. But in 1993 it certainly didn’t work this way.

In October I discovered I was pregnant. I already had two children—a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son—and we were experiencing a very difficult financial situation. “How will we support another baby?” I wondered. When the beginning-of-pregnancy nausea started, I found myself arguing with the Lord, complaining, murmuring, and failing to pray. I didn’t decorate the house as in other years. I didn’t want to remember the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. For me there wouldn’t be Christmas that year.

Every year my mother holds a special banquet on 25 December to bring the family together. But that year as I sat down at the table with everyone else, I couldn’t eat. Everything made me sick. I was so sad and filled with such bitterness that I hardly participated in the family conversations, and I soon returned home.

Some hours later my brother ran to my house to tell me my father was feeling sick. I hurried to my parents’ house and saw that my dad could hardly breathe; he had a tingling in his arm and a horrible pain in his chest. It was a heart attack! I urged my brother to take my father to the emergency room.

I went back home and asked my husband to pray that my father would not die. He told me I was the one who should pray. But I had not prayed for many, many days and felt Heavenly Father would not hear my prayer. Wisely, my husband told me it was time for me to ask His forgiveness.

I knelt, weeping bitterly. My father was dying on his way to the hospital, and I implored our Father in Heaven not to let him die that Christmas. In desperation I implored the Lord for forgiveness, and a voice whispered in my ear, “Read your patriarchal blessing!” How could I think about my patriarchal blessing at a time like this? But the prompting continued, strongly urging me to read the blessing.

I stood up, found a copy of my patriarchal blessing, and began to read it. And then something amazing happened. I realized that several times the blessing mentioned that I am a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father and of my earthly parents and that if I honor my parents on earth, He will prolong their lives, they will have the opportunity to see my children grow, and they will rejoice with me in our posterity.

As I read, an understanding came to me. My father hadn’t yet seen my unborn child, neither had he seen this child grow. He wouldn’t die at that moment, I realized. My blessing was my answer that day. I knelt once again, this time thanking our Father in Heaven for the very special child—my son Guilherme—I was carrying.

Sometimes we are so blind, so selfish! And Heavenly Father, in His kindness and love, allows us to learn and grow from our trials. I thank Him for each day He allows me to live with my family—with my three dear children, my husband, and my parents. I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ lives, and that They love me and have great patience with me.

  • Célia Augusto de Souza is a member of the Vila Sônia Ward, São Paulo Brazil Stake.