Updated: Dec 18, 2020
“Humans and history both grow slowly. We expect people to show up at our doors fully transformed and holy before they can be welcomed in. But growth language says it is appropriate to wait, trusting that change of consciousness can come only with time—and this patience ends up being the very shape of love.” (Richard Rohr)
Ronald Rolheiser writes---
What is the process by which we give birth to faith in the world?
Looking at how Mary gave birth to Christ, we see that it’s not something that’s done in an instant. Faith, like biology, also relies on a process that has a number of distinct, organic moments. What are these moments?
First, like Mary, we need to get pregnant by the Holy Spirit. We need to let the word take such root in us that it begins to become part of our actual flesh
Then, like any woman who’s pregnant, we have to lovingly gestate, nurture, and protect what is growing inside us until it’s sufficiently strong so that it can live on its own, outside us.
Eventually, of course, we must give birth.
Birth, however, is only the beginnings of motherhood. Mary gave birth to a baby, but she had to spend years nurturing, coaxing, and cajoling that infant into adulthood. The infant in the crib at Bethlehem is not yet the Christ who preaches, heals, and dies for us.
Finally, motherhood has still one more phase. As her child grows, matures, and takes on a personality and destiny of its own, the mother, at a point, must ponder (as Mary did). She must let herself be painfully stretched in understanding, in not knowing, in carrying tension, in letting go. She must set free to be itself something that was once so fiercely hers.
“We are all meant to give birth to God” says Meister Eckhart.
I’m learning that we can all experience the birth of Christ in our everyday, mostly small ways. Unhurried listening to friend or family member. Patient acceptance of a less than perfect circumstance. Kindness where there is a difference of opinion. Simply smiling at people as they are.
Let this be our prayer: Lord, help me be part of birthing beauty in every person you bring my way. Let me hold nothing back, faithfully and fearlessly bringing new life in the world. And perhaps, by an act of simple, patient love, your image will be more fully reflected.