LTNS, no? I’m sorry for being such a fair-weather blogger, but I’m now a mother of two who also works full time and manages a husband… 😀
I’ve been thinking a lot about my recent labor and the correlation that Paul makes in Romans to the endurance it takes for a Christian to be faithful to Jesus and a woman going through labor.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us. For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to futility, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope: Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now. And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for? But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience.” Rom 8:18-25
Certainly this has been running through my mind for the past month as I awaited the arrival of my second son, especially since he was late. As anyone who has had a child knows, waiting the last few weeks (and then some) is beyond trying. Waiting to meet your baby, see his face, hold him, be done with the inability to sleep, get comfortable; this mirrors exactly hoping for that which is not seen, but known, awaited and hoped for. This also coincides with labor. Labor (as the medical industry describes it) is made up of three stages, first stage (which is also in three stages): early labor (light contractions building), active labor (bigger contractions) and transition (“GIVE ME MEDS!!! I CAN’T DO THIS!!”), second stage (pushing/baby) finally third stage (after birth.)
How is this like the endurance it takes to be faithful to God? We go through trials in life, that come in varying degrees of difficulty. The hardest ones require an endurance despite discouragement, scandal, despair; the only way to make it through this “transition” (exodus, if you will) is to hope, to trust in the Mercy of God.
“My child, know that the greatest obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. These will deprive you of the ability to practice virtue. All temptations united together ought not to disturb your interior peace, even not momentarily. Sensitiveness and discouragement are the fruits of self love. Have confidence, my child. Do not lose heart in coming for pardon, for I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it, you glorify my mercy.” Divine Mercy in my Soul, part 70
“Write that by day and by night My gaze is fixed on him, and I permit these adversities in order to increase his merit. I do not reward for good results but for the patience and hardship undergone for My sake.” Divine Mercy in my Soul, part 86 (bold indicates the words of Jesus)
We see from the writings of St. Faustina also the focus on endurance despite trials, complete trust. This is exactly what it takes to get through labor, I imagine especially without meds, but I don’t know since I haven’t gotten the meds. Trusting that your baby is at the end of the labor, knowing not how long or how difficult it will be, but giving in to what is and trusting in God’s plan.
All of these things are foremost on my mind as I watch people go through the trial of the annulment tribunals. The loss of faith amidst scandal which causes despair is a great injustice, on so many parts: of the person who lets himself be harmed (No one can harm the man), the person causing the scandal and a Church which seems to allow that which she also preaches against. Endurance in these times, for the little things that harm our souls, to the great difficulties facing families, is often the best gift we can give.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings.” Rom 8:26
Just like pushing in labor, wherein the body takes control and pushes the baby out, despite the mother’s fear or pain. We should joyously pick up our crosses, like Simon of Cyrene, because Jesus is already carrying our cross for us; He only asks us to consent in trust.