For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
When Augustine cried out and we saw our son, we received a gift that we did nothing to deserve: the trust of a new person, with all his thoughts and feelings, his physical and spiritual growth, his relationship with his siblings, his ancestors, and all his relations. Sometimes it is overwhelming to think of all that being a parent means.
As Augustine lay next to his mother and his brothers and sisters gathered to greet him, the midwife pointed something out to me: “Look, look! Look at the cord!” She was inspecting the umbilical cord that brings nutrients and oxygen from the placenta inside the womb to the unborn baby. Loose and floppy, like an unbaked pretzel, was a single, simple knot. I could fit two or three fingers into it easily.
What it meant was, while Augustine was still small in the womb, he did a few twists, turns and somersaults and actually slipped the cord around himself and dove through, tying a knot.
Eventually it dawned on me. If that knot had pulled tight, it would have pinched the umbilical cord closed, something called occlusion. With the cord pinched, Augustine would have cut off his oxygen and died. Even if, during birth, the cord was short enough to pull tight, it could have damaged him badly.
But there it lay, floppy and harmless, a loose knot still tying a healthy baby to his mother.
What did this mean to me? Right away, I thought of all the people who were praying for us during the birth – storming heaven with prayers to call flights of angels to our protection. My wife, while calling out during labour, heard angel choirs singing along with her noise.
I thought of God himself, not just giving us Augustine, but also teaching me how precious and vulnerable he is – teaching me that He will always protect my son, even at times when I don’t know the danger.
I thought of my family, my parents and my children, who all participate in this same delicate mystery.
Every moment in our lives is sacred, especially this moment, right here and now. Every moment is delicate and fragile as unbaked dough, that can fall apart if handled too roughly. We tend to forget this. Maybe you have had a moment like Augustine’s birth, where the immensity of God’s gift became clear, or maybe such moments are still in your future.
But God’s giving never stops. Now that we have seen Christ’s birth, let us remember that he beauty, the wonder, the power and the weakness of God is always entering into the world through our lives.
Let us pray:
+For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
St. Kateri, pray for us.