About 7 years ago, I had, it seemed, a flurry of medical issues. Finally, a diagnosis was delivered to me, and with it, the devastating knowledge that it would be difficult to have children. My husband and I were newly married. Prior to the wedding, we talked excitedly about growing our family. This was a blow neither of us saw coming. That day, something inside me just died. My husband was supportive and loving, but I could tell deep down he felt the same way. Because of God’s grace, we now how two beautiful babies. They have completed our family and brought me a sense of purpose I hadn’t know before.
This “new purpose” is found through motherhood, and referred to as the mystery of femininity in Pope John Paul II “Theology of the Body. Both sexes, male and female, are finally able to see their full potential through procreation. Whilst creating another being, both man and woman, once seen as husband and wife, become more than that, they become parents. Unfortunately, conjugal love in our society is often distorted into something perverse. It is hardly ever portrayed as the true gift it was meant to be. Because of free, unhindered giving of one’s self, the couple has the opportunity, in conjunction with Christ’s will, to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Gn 1:28).
Each child born is created in the image of Christ (Gn1:27). I remember looking at each of my children’s faces and thinking, “God made this face. This child has seen Christ.” And just kissing their sweet faces over and over again knowing that God had touched that sweet face as well. Think of the Holy Trinity for one moment. Each is it’s own separate entity, yet, all are one at the same time. This relationship can reflect the family as well. Man, woman, and child are separate, yet, husband and wife join together to create a child. That child reflects the very best qualities from each parent. (Although, I have seen my son pick up some of my not so good qualities. Those are reflected back as well!)
After the fall, God told Eve child bearing would be painful and difficult. For every mother out there who has given birth, I’m sure they wish Eve had made a different decision, and having babies wasn’t absolutely excruciating. However, we can also see that while a mistake was made, while original sin is carried over time and again, God still allows us to create beautiful babies in His image (Gn 1:27).
One last thought-mothers are able to obviously carry a child in their womb. While this is certainly miraculous without a doubt, I want to point out that a mother also carries a child in her heart and soul unlike anyone else. There a times when mothers do not physically carry their children. However, the love and affection “carried” for that child, is unprecedented. Whether biological or not, a woman’s love for her child is truly a gift for God.
Being parents has truly transformed our lives. Each day, we a blessed to witness the fruit of our love, and the true power of Christ. While it is certainly exhausting, overwhelming, and downright hard, (I think my instruction book was lost!) as I mentioned earlier, my life’s purpose was revealed in that moment I knew I was to be a mother.
Reflection: How do you feel knowing that each child, including yourself, was made in the image of Christ?
Act: Tonight, pray for our country, and our political leaders, that they may see the sanctity of every life and put fourth laws that protect every child.
Act: Think of a couple in your life that is expecting. Offer to help with the preparation of that child. Do they need dinner? Perhaps they need someone to watch their other children while they go out.