Now here’s a question: Would you have chosen your children?
It’s one of the thought-starters we pondered in my Saturday morning faith-sharing group this week. Somehow, the question was triggered by the first reading – from Deuteronomy – that we’ll hear at Mass on Sunday, celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.
The scripture passage recounts Moses’ amazement at the Israelites having been chosen by God.
‘Did anything so great ever happen before?’ he asks. ‘Was it ever heard of?’
Moses’ questions are profound, and worthy of reflection. But I found myself being drawn into the mystery of the Trinity more by the discussion question than by the scriptural ones.
‘Would you have chosen your children?’
My answer is an enthusiastic and heartfelt ‘yes!’ All my children have been (and continue to be) extraordinary blessings in my life – a fact that’s lately been carved into high relief by the life and the love of our 17-month-old granddaughter.
Having Hannah around these days often serves as something of a time-machine for me…transporting me back through the decades to when our own children were that small. She – no less than they – has the power to delight; to melt my heart; to make my spirit soar. Lately, she’s also learned how to say ‘No’ – a stage in her development that changes the calculus just a bit. Hannah’s certainly no less loveable (or loved) than she was before. But it can take a bit more work now, as distinct elements of her personality (and her free will) start to poke through to the surface…and on occasion, at inopportune times.
It’s something that every grandparent…and every parent…experiences, I suppose.
And it’s precisely the thing that made my faith-sharing group’s discussion question so intriguing this week.
‘Would you have chosen your children?’ To answer the question honestly, you have to have experienced the manifestations of their free will. You have to learn – sometimes, painfully – that they are not entirely under your control. You have to see them get hurt. You have to see them hurt others (perhaps most especially yourself). You have to come to understand that they are not ‘yours’ – not completely, anyway.
The incredible thing is, once you know all that…once you live it…it becomes easier than ever to answer the question: ‘Would you have chosen your children?’
And in answering the question in the affirmative, I think I learned a little something about the mystery of the Trinity today.
God chooses us, after all.
We don’t do much to merit such a relationship. Still, the bond seems unbreakable.
God, Who is Love, says Heck, yeah: We are chosen, again and again, forever and a day.
And so, along with Moses, we are moved to wonder, ‘Did anything so great ever happen before?’
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.