Friday, July 29, 2011

A Child Changes Everything

Your schedule is forever dependent on their timeline, mood, sleep and eating patterns. Your time, nay, entire being revolves around this child. Your every move, act and thought focused - not on your wants and needs - but theirs. Even your senses are attuned and accentuated to their every move: hearing becomes heightened and acute for any cry, coo or change in breathing pattern; eyes become keenly aware to any immediate danger or surrounding signal, any joy or distress - time almost seems to slow down for the importance of the moment; and don't forget smell. You see, a child changes everything.

But this is far from a complaint, quite the opposite actually. It is good - even holy and priestly - that every meal, sleepless night and afternoon nap, every diaper, day and desire wholly revolves around the life of a child. Yes, a child changes everything. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

This must have been, at least in some small, modest way - what Eve thought at the birth of her first born son, Cain. (Admittedly this comes from the perspective of an Adam.) "I have begotten a man, the Lord!" Like Lamech after her, she thought her son was the Promised One. The child born of woman who would change everything after our first parents had fouled everything up into one cosmic SNAFU. But Cain - as his ancestor, Noah - was not the boy who would change everything, at least not in the way Eve had hoped. That - like the mess in the Garden - he left for another to pick up after him.

For Eve's joy - though short lived - was eventually met in the fullness of time, when everything seemed to slow down for the importance of the moment. Angels sang and proclaimed. Joseph saw dreams. And a young virgin believed the Word of the Lord delivered to her by Gabriel.

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”[c] 29 But when she saw him,[d] she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

The Blessed Virgin knows of what I speak. She too knows that a child changes everything. The one by whom all things were created took on human flesh. The Creator assumed creation. God and Man; God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting...One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood into God. He truly is his brother's keeper. And in him we are redeemed, saved and exalted. Like Mary before us, our schedule and eating habits are forever dependent on this child, right down to the food he gives us to eat: simple bread and wine, forgiving body and blood. Our time, nay, our entire being revolves around this child because his every move, act and thought were focused not on his wants or needs - but ours. Mary understood this even as the Lord of all who feeds the ravens when they call was nestled in her bosom. Her senses were attuned to his, even that sword which would pierce her soul as her firstborn Son was pierced for us. His every cry was heard as she watched the boy who changed everything: "Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit." She listened to the change in sound, from pain and agony to the silence of death. Distress leads to joy.  Suffering gives way to celebration. Death is swallowed up in victory. Good Friday death is followed by Resurrection life, for Jesus, for Mary and for you his firstborn. This Promised One gives his promise to you, making you his sons and daughters. In him is your rest, your forgiveness, your life is found in his.

Of course this is all from the perspective of a Joseph. And yet it was to Joseph that the angel said, "You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Indeed, a child changes everything. This is good - even holy and priestly. His holiness defines all things holy and his priestly work defines the very lives of his priests, holy-ed in his life, death and resurrection. This child is a cause for joy wherein our lives wholly revolve around this boy who changed everything, the Christ in whom we live and move and have our being. And he wouldn't have it any other way.

No comments:

Post a Comment