Monday, May 5, 2008

Are You Finished Yet?

So here is the scenario: My wife and I go to a local store with our four boys ages 9, 6, 3 and 9 mos. Our 3 year old is a "big boy" and wants to walk with his older siblings. So now we have the Cox Family convoy walking through the store: Mom leading the way pushing the cart, 3 brothers holding hands and Dad bringing up the rear with the stroller. It is quite a sight. Eventually, after we have stopped the flow of traffic in the store a few times with our regular duck crossings, someone stops and makes a comment on how cute the baby is--he really is cute, looks just like mommy. A short conversation ensues and inevitably the question arises, "Are you done?" No more needs to be said; we understand the question. "Are you done?" is the universal question for any family who has more than 3 children. "Are you done?" is the "polite" way of saying, "you need to stop having children." I have been told by a friend with 5 children that the questions eventually change. They become: "Are these all yours, or did you adopt?"

The reactions that large families receive from folks in public really fascinates me. Why are people so comfortable questioning the fertility of others? When did having more than 2.3 children become "irresponsible?" Our culture has not only embraced the idea of having dominion over creation, but we are now trying to control it to the point of deciding whether or not to allow life at all. When did children become a commodity; a box to check on the to do list of life?

Genesis 1:27 says, "And God created man in his own image: in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. " What does this mean, " the image of God he created him: male and female he created them?" It means that together man and woman image God. That is why God creates a "helper suitable" for him. With what did Adam need help? He needed help living out the fact that he is created in the image of God; a communion of persons. Eve fulfills this communion of persons in the sacrament of matrimony. God is a communion of persons..."man" is to be a communion of persons. This becomes obvious to Adam when he recognizes that the animals are not suitable to help him. The human body is intended to be a reciprocal gift. Man gives himself to his wife and the wife to her husband. And this gift is to be free, total, faithful and fruitful. The fruit of the love is the life that it produces. The love between the Father and the Son is so real, that it is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. The love between a husband and wife is so real that from it comes the third person of our family.

We ought not look at the responsibility of parenthood as a duty that we tolerate until the kids are old enough to do things for themesleves. We ought to celebrate the fact that God gives us the ability to become "co" creators by being procreators. And by the grace of God, we will have the perseverence to live out our vocation and through this vocation share in the love of the Holy Trinity.

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