Birth of a new year, birth of a new blog. This desperate need to anthropomorphize – the "birth" of a thing – seems innate. Does it point to something deeper within our nature?
Everyone alive today has been born, and born very specifically to a mother. Some of these were extraordinary mothers; others, perhaps less so. Some of us - the orphans, the adopted - may never have known her.
But even in the most painful of vitas, those in which the all-too-human errors and imperfections of life in a hard world become apparent, lurks the love of this mother for her child. Her will to be there, to protect, to envelop, to soothe, to fortify, to let flourish.
It's a cross-cultural, cross-temporal, a fundamental "thing" and yet we shy away from it in conversation even with our own mothers. It's too much. It tugs at the heart in the stories we tell ourselves (the hardened look down on it as a narrative tool for this reason, but that only serves to prove the point). A woman will die for her child more readily than a man for his wife or a soldier for his country. And isn't that something in a world in which people aren't ready to die for much of anything...
I think the love we are gifted from our mothers is our first encounter with the non-material, the spiritual. It isn't primarily food or shelter, but the true sacrificial willing of the good of the other; love in its wildest, most raw, most pure: the begotten child, the beloved.
What brings me to my knees, then, is that this is the nature of all being as we trace the chain of beloved children of beloved children back in time, back to the first love given.
This is the inherent nature of being, of creation: the love passed from origin to progeny. Remove "time", and Being Itself, the ipsum esse, "that than which no greater can be thought" looks upon creation with the love of a parent.
Are we anthropomorphizing? Well, yes. Because this chain of love isn't a "thing" but something all of us have experienced deep within ourselves. Every love in time points to it. It is what it means to be human and to be fully alive. What we haven't yet full internalized, it seems to me, is that this is the directionality of our history, the measure of progress: the perfect love of a mother for her child. This is what we are meant to worship and bring about.
If I could wish you one thing this year, it is this: that you search for that love within yourself. That you weigh it and ponder it and see if maybe it is to this that you should dedicate your life (or, "die for").
On the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the year 2022.