January 15, 2008
A Love Greater than that of a Parent
by Sarah Jennings, Crosswalk.com Family Editor
And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Sunday we celebrated two important feasts: The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord and, of even more theological import, The Feast of the Birth of Me. Okay. So the second one isn’t really in the Gospels (I checked – it’s not there). Nor did it make it onto the liturgical calendar. Since the Church apparently dropped the ball here, let me give you some background on my special feast day.
My birth was a surprise.
Yes, my mom knew she was pregnant. She just didn’t know she was pregnant with two babies. 27 years ago my parents drove to the hospital expecting to have a child – their firstborn. They came home with identical twins. I was “Baby B” according to my plastic hospital bracelet. (Surprise, Mom! Surprise, Dad!).
Surprises aside, I’ve often heard parents (including my own) say that at the birth of a child they finally “get” the love their parents had for them all these years. While most never receive international attention for this eye-opening, life-altering love, some do. Like Gianna Beretta Molla.
Gianna, a beautiful Italian wife, mother, and physician faced a risky pregnancy in the ‘60’s. Pregnant with her fourth child, fellow doctors advised she terminate this pregnancy. But Gianna wanted to give her child a chance. On April 26, 1962, Gianna went home to her Savior after giving birth to a little girl. Today, thanks to her mother’s sacrifice, “little Gianna” is a physician who works to protect the weak and vulnerable.
Truly, the love of a parent for a child can be one of the most powerful forces on earth. Perhaps the only love more astounding than the heroic sacrifices of countless parents on earth – famous and not-so-famous – is the love of our Father in heaven.
The Trinity has long been a source of contemplation and fascination for me. In the passage above, the sky literally breaks open as God, the Father, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, shares his pleasure in his “beloved” Son. It’s a rare Scriptural glimpse into the inner life of God.
As the salvation story unfolds, we see with increasing clarity that God is not a frozen, lonely God, but instead exists as a Family. The love of the Trinity is complete without us, knows perfect Love without us, yet God loves us so deeply, so extravagantly, He created us and ultimately sacrificed for us just so we could share in this Trinitarian love. Through our baptism in Christ, we can call God “Father,” too.
What other religion in the world has such a dynamic and intimate God? What other faith offers the orphan a family that surpasses all families, a love that surpasses even the deep love of our own parents?
Intersecting Faith & Life: The more we know God and love Him for Who He is, the more we know ourselves and are able to love others in a godly way. This week, spend a little time just sitting in God’s presence and contemplating the nature of God and His divine love.