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To Bounce a Baby

The Lord’s Prayer provides us with insight regarding our relationship to the Father: We are His children! We are His sons and daughters!

St. Paul (Rom 8:14-21; 9:8; Gal 3:26; and Phil 2:15) reminds us that through this “adopted” relationship, we have become heirs of God’s promises. In the Gospel of Matthew (5:9), Jesus teaches that the children of God should be peacemakers. And in the Gospel of Luke (20:36), He reminds us that as children of God, we are also children of the resurrection. For God’s beloved children, death is but a bridge to eternity. We have quite a Father, don’t you think?

As a fellow child of God and father of five children, I am saddened regarding cultural changes that have taken root with respect to children. With our ever increasing focus upon materialism, many have simply concluded that children are no longer a blessing. Rather, children impede our comfort, destroy our wealth, and reduce our personal freedom. Additionally, with their disposable diapers, plastic toys, and other “requirements,” they are powerful agents that hasten the destruction of our beloved planet. Not surprisingly, those who buy into such false wisdom dictate that their numbers be minimized, if not altogether eliminated. Some time ago, an author in the Wall Street Journal witnessed to this very “rational” outlook when asking a so-called financial expert the question: “Just how much is a child likely to cost you?” The response: “Assuming you already have a cash reserve equaling three to six months of living expenses, you have to increase the size of that emergency fund to account for all your new costs.” After reading this article (and others like it) with my wife, we concluded that we must be kamikaze pilots given our flight(s) against such conventional wisdom.

In the Gospel of Matthew (13:54-58), we are told of Jesus going to his native place and teaching the people in their synagogue. Ultimately, however, those present discount and dismiss His wisdom: “Is he not the carpenter’s son?” In seeking to impart wisdom upon the people gathered there, Jesus found them with no belly for the truth. Just before those verses (in Matthew 13:44-52), Jesus has something to say regarding treasure that may be found in our lives. After using the image of a merchant searching for fine pearls, He concludes by asking a pointed question: “Do you understand all these things?”

Now in my own life journey, I can recall the excitement of finding out that my wife was pregnant. In preparing for the birth of each child, I was certainly no Thurston Howell, III. And truth be told, to this very day, I continue to bear no financial resemblance to him. But despite not measuring up to what financial critics deem as “necessary” precautions prior to procreation, my wife and I nevertheless made the decision to place the matter of children in God’s hands. And He has never let us down!

As Saint John Paul II once remarked: “In the newborn child is realized the common good of the family.” And if I may add my own words to those of this saint: “Children are a gift from God, a supreme blessing. In looking into their eyes, we see love and come to understand more fully what love is.”

Years ago, Alistair Cooke recalled the plight of modern man:

In the best of times, our days our numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.

To recall Jesus’ words: Do we understand all these things?

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