In Praise of New Life

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Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. – Psalm 127:3

Nothing argues the beauty and the mystery of life more than the birth of a new baby. To contemplate the union of two people who offer themselves freely to one another in mind, soul, and body out of love for each other, is a monumental thought worthy of eternity all by itself. But when that mutual love results in the conception of a new human person, it is worthy of true awe and wonder.

Some one once said that when a child is conceived in the womb there are three persons present there in that moment; the mother, the new child, and God, who at the moment of conception, breathes Life, his own image and likeness, into that new, unique human person. The womb is the sanctuary, the Sacred Place where this miracle happens.

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Over the course of nine months the mother begins to feel the child’s movements. In the old days they called this experience the “quickening.” The miracle that happens in that silent and sacred place begins to make itself known. Over that time, both mother and father wonder together about this miracle taking shape in the mother’s womb. They begin to prepare for the child’s presence in their lives. Of course, there is no way to prepare fully for such things. Something as great as this, as unique as this, requires more than either mother and father could ever imagine. But they are not alone in welcoming this new child into the world. Or they should not be. Family has its duties of love to perform in support of the new parents and their “miracle.” For those who believe, there is the comfort of knowing that God is present to all of this as well. And He will always be present.

Yesterday afternoon, our daughter gave birth to her second child. Our son-in-law was at her side supporting her with his love and his unique sense of humor, as he has for the last six years. Afterwards, the hospital room filled up with grandparents, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. The room was full of laughter and happy conversation. The little one was passed, like a football, to all who wanted to hold this beautiful miracle in their own hands. Mother was tired, but radiant. The room radiated with joy.

Now the real duties of love begin, don’t they. The every-two-hour-feedings, the diaper changing, the worries over sniffles and fevers. As the years pass, the endless concerns for them continue, the teaching of life lessons, then, watching them go off to school. They are a wonder at every stage. We watch their growing intellects, their physical skills and talents being developed and honed. Then, finally, they grow up, they go away to college maybe, and inevitably, they fall in love and form their own families. This is the way of life, isn’t it.

For believers, all of this is done in union with God, He who is in the midst of all things that are good, true and beautiful. God is there in the good times with his gifts of insight and joy. He is there with us in the times of our sufferings and the moments of our fears as well. He gives us His grace in all that we do. He offers us His unconditional love and forgiveness when we fall short as well. And we will fall short. We all do. But with God’s forgiveness, with His unconditional love on our side, who can be against us?

So, with the coming of each new “miracle” child in this world we are given the sacred opportunity to participate with God in the creation. We are called to imitate Jesus in service, sacrifice and forgiveness as we raise each child together. We are also invited to share with the Holy Spirit in giving unconditional love to each child and to each other. The best way to love your child is to love your husband/wife.

Each new child has its role too. Each gives us the chance to renew our love of life, to recommit to loving all others in union with the mind of God. So, you see, the “miracle” is much larger than the momentary wonder of birth.

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