Theosis, Maternally Accomplished
Reflections on the Mystery of Childbirth
Tomorrow morning I will rejoice as I welcome my first grandchild and enter into the next phase of motherhood. As I await this blessed event, I reflect on my own maternity and the things I have come to understand about how this mysterious process is such a magnificent gift to us.
I marvel that God has ordained that every soul should enter into the world by this same process in the hope that we would recognize the fingerprints of the divine in its orchestration and design and by it, grow to know Him better. When it was announced to her that she was with child, my daughter rejoiced exceedingly but immediately began to suffer as she yielded her own body to the process of co-creating another one with the help of God. She became immediately aware that her life would never be the same and that the only way was forward, toward the suffering that was to come, but it was unquestionable, she would cooperate with God’s plan for her and His kingdom.
As the baby in her womb grew in strength and grace, she cared for her as any mother should still she was unable to hold her or to see her face. She longed for this joy. As her womb grew larger and larger, she became anxious about exactly how she would bring this little one out into the world. The amount of suffering in store for her became increasingly evident as the baby grew and the day of her delivery neared, yet she found herself motivated by such a pure and powerful love for this child that she was willing to do whatever it would take.
Toward the end of her pregnancy, the doctors found that the baby was breech, and an unassisted delivery was out of the question, so they insisted upon a cesarean section. My daughter and I had talked about this on many occasions since her own birth was an emergency situation that had resulted in such a delivery. She was disappointed and a little scared, but she would put her fears and desires aside to ensure her daughter would be safe.
Tonight I prayerfully keep vigil with her and her husband in trusting anticipation of what is to come.
Tomorrow, my child will enter the surgical arena. She will walk freely to the operating room and lie down on the surgical table of her own will. My daughter’s hands will be bound to a cruciform board to keep things sterile. They will inject drugs into her back and offer her a cocktail of other medications to calm her, which she may or may not refuse. They will pierce her with a lance, and blood and water will flow. Afterward, there will be pain, but this innocent little one, made in her image and likeness, will be delivered from darkness and enter into the light of the life that was prepared so lovingly for her. All this will be done so that she may bring the body of this precious little soul to its rightful place where she will be safe and happy with her parents as she journeys toward eternal life with God.
Tomorrow, my daughter will learn a little more about the unconditional and total love of God, our Father and Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior. She will be overjoyed beyond all expectations, and she will praise and glorify God for the wonder that He has made and the extraordinary ability He has given her to participate in His lifegiving mercy!
I will continue to ponder all these things in my heart as I unite with our mother, the Theotokos, who too watched her little one suffer such a terrible, yet marvelous fate.
Glory to God in all things!
Edited to add: Join me in welcoming my new granddaughter, Sophia Felicity Bonello, born on Thursday, September 23, on the feast of the Conception of the Forerunner and Baptist John, 2021; 10:38 am; God grant to her, and to her parents Anastasia and Vincent, peace, health, and long life for many happy and blessed years!
"My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him..."