With Mother’s and Father’s day now behind us, I am aware of something Seth Myers said on Fresh Air to Terry Gross on becoming a father. Myers said that a woman spends nine months with the child slowly, gradually growing inside them. A woman eases into motherhood (except for the labor/delivery part … I don’t recall hearing many women saying they “eased into” that). For a man, said Myers, you become a father “in an instant”! There is no time to mentally or emotionally prepare for it. You spend your entire life not being a father; and then, suddenly, you are one!
St. Ignatius of Antioch was a bishop in the early church during the persecution of Domitian. It was during this time we believe the book of Revelation was written, when the city of Rome was “drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs.” (Revelation 17:6.) Ignatius was on his way to Rome as a prisoner, anticipating his own martyrdom. (The tradition says he was fed to wild beasts.) Along the way Christians would gather to greet him and offer him words of comfort. Tireless in his witness against the atrocities of the emperor and unwilling to bend to the decrees that Christians worship with pagans, Ignatius wrote to the believers in Rome, urging them to keep the faith and not be afraid. He wrote:
I am in the throes of being born again. Bear with me, my brothers; do not keep me from living, do not wish me to die … For Ignatius, Christian discipleship is not a “one time” event when one is “born again”, as one might surmise from a superficial reading of John 3:3. Our faith is one of constant birthing, coming to see what Ignatius called “the pure light” with new eyes every day of our lives.
My experience as a parent is that one is constantly ‘in the throes” of it, learning, adjusting, growing in love for my children. And though there is that first time a baby sees the light of day outside their mother’s womb, aren’t we always “in the throes” of learning and becoming?
May we be “in the throes” of following Jesus today, making our way closer and closer to the pure light of our love for God and each other.
A blessed Tuesday.