My friend Jessica from college, the only Catholic I ever really knew who seemed to love Jesus, came to stand as my sponsor and my youngest daughter's godmother, and this when she was recently only half-alive, having nearly died - perhaps been resurrected - from a placental abruption six months earlier. It was the miraculous story of her salvation from that that spurred Shep and I on into RCIA and then on into being received into full communion with The Church. There was something about it, a sense of the holy, a real power that moved our hearts and compelled us forward. There were other signs, like Shep's peace during a rough patch in our lives. It was a truly supernatural calm. He would go and sit at Mass every day and come home serene, equanimous. I felt that as great as regular Shep was, Catholic Shep was really something special.
There was the feeling that as compelling as the Truth offered by the Eastern Orthodox Church, which we were also looking into, I didn't experience there the flood of tears that has always marked my relationship with God. I didn't experience there the humility and the love that I felt in the Catholic Church. In the end, I didn't know who was Right with a capital R. If anything, I thought the Orthodox were Right. But I felt God wanted us in the Catholic Church. And so we walked into Her arms.
There was not a question for us of remaining merely Protestant. We loved our church and our heritage and the gift of a relationship with God that we had been given, but there was one thing we couldn't get outside the capital-C Church: Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist, a bold claim, shocking, audacious, but as ancient as Christianity itself, his body and blood offered with real and efficacious grace. This is the message I'm getting, straight from him with no intermediary: that he wants so badly just to meet with me, just to be with me, to be a part of me, to live inside me. No wonder people love him.
Catholics have a thing about babies. Of course there is their stance on artificial contraception, but that is just an extension of their attitude toward the creation of life. There is never one baby too many with them. Each and every baby is a miracle and a mystery, a cause for celebration, hallowed ground. I think they understand life better than the rest of us, the place life springs from.
Just look at how they honor Mary. Sometimes people are afraid of giving her more than her due, to not take away from her Son. But one really can't be pictured without the other. Babies don't come suspended alone in midair. They come connected, literally. I understand this part. First there's nothing. Then before you even feel it, another person is growing inside you, separate, but not separate at all. Your identities are all entangled from the start. He comes out literally attached. There is a tangible reluctance in the severing you can sense in how it is drawn out. As for you, you ache for him. You want him in your hands. All the looking in the world could never be enough looking to satisfy your awe of him. As for him, all he is is need, and all his need is need of you. He smells your breath, feels your warmth, tastes your milk, curls at your side, scans the horizon for your face and, finding it, locks on it. You are his world. You are him. You are what makes him know he has a shape by how your hands fit round him. He feels he is nothing without you, and he is right.
Attachment is the baseline reality of human existence; the further we stray from it, the less human we become. Surely the Creator of humanity would be the most human of all. Just think of him, emptying himself of his omnipotence to become a tiny cell dividing in the dark, a baby, the Shaper coming to delineate his self by the shape of his mother's hands around him, the Breather of Life feeling the warm halo of his breath as he breathes against her, the Word of God hearing his coos resounding off her body.
There really is no limit to the sacredness, the holiness of a child, is there? From the moment a child is conceived, it is a hallowed ground, the site of the supernatural impeding on the natural. I think we all know that, but detachment has been our atmosphere for so long, we have become calloused to it. We all need to be re-parented, attachment parented by God and by Our Mother, the Church, humble little Queen Mary, and I feel that's where I find myself. I am not sure of myself. I don't know if she's Right with a capital R, though I have more and more faith in that possibility. All I know is while I'm here walking in the dark, she's holding my hand. She's doing the one thing I will resist more than any other - mothering me. I don't know anything but that, but I know I need it. I don't need anything more.