Sunday, January 6, 2013
Pregnant Part 2
In the first part of our reflections we covered the state of emptiness. If you missed that one you can read it here Pregnant Part 1 The emptiness that we feel whether it be physical because of IF or on a spiritual or emotional level exists so that The Christ Child can fill it up and move within us. This part will reflect on the growth of Christ in us, in a sense the gestation part of pregnancy. The quotes are taken from the book Reed of God. During pregnancy the baby growing inside gets all of its nourishment from its mother and in turn lowers her immune system response. That is why a pregnant woman grows more tired as the pregnancy progresses and why pregnant women are careful in what they eat and who they come in contact with. Everything that affects the mother will affect the baby, even emotions.
During gestation Jesus was completely dependent upon Mary.
" For nine months Christ grew in His Mother's body. By His own will she formed Him from herself, from the simplicity of her daily life.... Working, eating, sleeping, she was forming His body from hers."
This gives a whole new meaning to the fact that we are Christ's hands and feet or that we are His living breathing tabernacles. When we receive the Eucharist at Mass and as we walk back to our seats we are carrying the Christ with us! We entered the Church empty and leave with an incredible gift that we must continue to nourish as we go through our daily tasks. We take Christ to our homes, jobs, the grocery store, the mall, the bar, and even to the deepest part of our hearts. When women are pregnant they are very careful with making sure they do not over exert themselves for the baby's sake or go to dangerous places because they have to think about the safety of their unborn child. We must do the same by trying to avoid those near occasions of sin or knowing ourselves well enough to know our habitual sins. Mary knew the incredible gift she carried in her womb, she could have rested or hidden herself away her entire pregnancy instead she went in haste to see Elizabeth. She took Christ into the world in which needed Him desperately.
The gestation period is necessary for growth in suffering and joy. The suffering part is the uncomfortableness that we feel as we grow and expand our capacity to love. Pregnant women don't have it easy, as much as I long to carry life within me, my NaPro Dr. reminds me that pregnancy is hard on the body. Pregnant women get cramps as the uterus is expanding, morning sickness, and the woman's body will never be the same after the pregnancy. When we encounter Christ we should never be the same. When we allow Christ to grow within us we will encounter suffering as we become sanctified. Sometimes we shake our fist at God as we suffer, which I have been guilty of, or we become bitter, or we become numb.
This stems from our impatience in our suffering.
"People sometimes get disheartened because they have read that suffering ennobled and have met people who seem to have come out of the crucible like pure silver, made beautiful by suffering; but it seems to them that in their own case it is quite the opposite. They find that however hard they try not be, they are irritable; that astonishing stabs of bitterness afflict them, that far from being more sympathetic, more understanding, there is a numbness, a chill on their emotions: they cannot respond to others at all; they seem not to love anyone any more; and they even shrink from, and dread the very presence of, those who are compassionate and who care for them....The truth is that they are too impatient to wait for the season of Advent in sorrow to run its course;"
This passage cuts me deep because I have been here comparing the way I am suffering to others. I would look at others who have been suffering with IF or miscarriage and would think "oh no I am suffering wrong, these people seem fine or despite their suffering they are not complaining like me!" Yes, I like to do things perfectly even suffer. The truth is that we all experience suffering differently. These feelings of anger, bitterness, and sometimes numbness are a normal part of the process for Christ to grow in us.
Often when we go through sorrow, we may shun joy. We think that it is not the time for it or that the dark sorrow will not allow any light to seep through. Well Christ will dispel the darkness even if for a moment that we may experience joy. I remember shortly after the miscarriage I felt guilty for laughing with my husband or feeling happy when receiving the Eucharist. I thought that I should be mourning the loss of our child more or it wasn't time to move on yet. We need to allow our emotions to run their course and be a part of our person but that does not mean that they have to rule our life. We are intellect, will and emotion not just one or the other.
Pregnancy has the joy of knowing you carry life within you and the anticipation of holding that new life. For those of us who have not been able to do that we must allow Christ to occupy that space. Christ must become our main priority just like the baby in the womb is a mother's priority; growing in feminine virtues so that your life bears fruit whether or not you have children, that is real joy. How do we bear fruit if we cannot give human life? That is much like the question that Mary asked the Angel of how is this possible? We must echo the Fiat of Mary in our daily lives in order to experience joy.
How do we live this practically? One thing we can do is to stop grumbling about our daily duties and tasks. I am not talking about the things that bother us and need to change, I am talking about us nitpicking at every little thing in our lives that we don't like. I am talking to myself on this one especially. Making our daily tasks a prayer is another practical way. Staying in constant conversation with Christ will allow us to know that we are not alone and for those of us who are not able to carry a baby in our womb this will make us feel pregnant in a sense. I will cover more about motherhood in the next reflection which will be taken from JPII's Letter Mulieris Dignitatem. Stay tuned.....