A Father's Delight
On a womens healing retreat, our retreat leader, Fr. Philip Scott (www.familiadejesusperu.org) entreated us to explore the circumstances of our own conception, of our mother’s pregnancy and of our birth, and further to ask Father to reveal his delight, heavens delight in us, regardless of our circumstances. I found a quiet place to be with God and my thoughts.
I am blessed to have been born into a time and place of relative peace and national affluence. Still, my coming into this life was not without hardship. In one of our many beautiful moments of sharing before she passed into eternity, my mother had shared with me that she was angry to find herself pregnant with me. She had birthed two children in as many years. Having birthed my sister just three months earlier, this new pregnancy was both unexpected and not ideal, particularly with a traveling husband, living far from her own mother, and with no help in the home. She was angry to be in this position, and mostly alone.
As I settled, with Jesus as my guide, to consider these circumstances and the toll this third pregnancy must have taken on my mother, I saw myself, a fetus in the womb, shrinking back against the walls of my home. I knew, I could sense my mother's emotion. I turned to God to say, "Why" and these words came to me, “In the beginning God made me.” I understood that God, my Father, was going to tell me a story.
I got out my journal and pen and began to write. This is my story, but it could just as easily be yours with a few minor changes to the details. Make it your own!
In the beginning God made me. He wanted me. He saw me. He set out to find the perfect people to be my parents, perfect for starting me on my path to holiness. My parents would be in charge not only of me, but of four other precious souls that God had envisioned in his perfect plan for me.
God chose the perfect time to bring this beautiful little girl into being. The combination of the parents He chose and the four precious sibling souls entrusted to their care was the perfect package in which to bundle this little one in whom God would plant his seed of joy. He made her, and his hand was upon her. He watched her grow, surrounding her with the perfect mix of trials, sicknesses, struggles, and loneliness, joy, companionship and love.
He formed her in the womb, cradling her in the palm of his hand as she grew. Mary and the Holy Family made such a fuss over her, over every perfect detail of her development. Then she was born and her journey began in earnest. Always, God, Jesus, Mary, all of the heavenly hosts were there, cheering, encouraging, consoling, delighting in her every move, for all knew that God, in his divine providence, would work great good from every experience of this little soul. The girl grew to love God and the Holy Family. God had much planned for her and much work to accomplish.
Seeing her strength of faith, God challenged her, seeming to take away all faith support. The little girl fell hard. She struggled to find God. But heaven rejoiced because they knew God was planning great works of good through the suffering of this soul. She tried and tried to find her way out of her struggles until she could not try anymore. In her anguish she called out to God, “Something needs to change!" And God delighted in her voice. Her journey back to God and her faith was difficult for this little soul. She did not understand that her trials and suffering had purpose. Slowly, she regained her trust in God. Her great love for him and the Holy Family was rekindled until it was a blazing fire. The little soul reveled in the Fathers touch and her conversion and newfound zeal touched many of Gods other equally precious souls. But her journey was not yet complete. More trials were to come, more separation from God and more joyous returns.
Heaven clung to each movement of this precious soul watching with delight as Gods plan was at work in her life. Through the storms and the graces, God traveled with the little girl until, in the final moments of her life, she gave herself to him so completely that, as she died and entered heaven, God saw in her his very own Son. Oh, how the heavens rejoiced and congratulated her on her successful journey when she fell into the arms of her Father! There, in his loving embrace, she saw the purpose and the fruits of her suffering and she rejoiced along with the heavenly hosts at the perfection of God's divine providence.
Someone remarked when I shared this story that it sounded like I had a truly beautiful life and that I probably had not needed a “healing” retreat. I quickly assured this person that I had not led a charmed, trouble-free life. However, upon further reflection, I realize that indeed it should sound like I had a perfect life and a perfect family… to say otherwise would be to deny the very message that God just took the time to share with me.
God tells us, “see my perfection, not as you would define perfect, but through my divine gaze.” In God’s perfect plan, all was and is perfectly ordained. So, I beg forgiveness of God for diminishing his gift in a moment of weakness. Indeed, if he has perfectly ordained my life, who am I to think otherwise?
©Bernadette Harmon, 2012