Friday, January 23, 2009

On Holy Childbearing

A pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.

I was recently made aware of the resonance (?) between the 40 weeks of pregnancy, the 40 years the Israelites spent in the desert, the 40 days that the flood was upon the earth, and the 40 days of Lent.

Did God arrange pregnancy to resemble these other, or these other to resemble pregnancy?

But look at this:
  • The flood was "40 days upon the earth" before those that were saved could walk the renewed earth.
  • Israel suffered 40 years before crossing the Jordan into Canaan.
  • A woman suffers 40 weeks before the breaking of waters and a child is birthed into new life.
  • The Church suffers through the (nominal) 40 days of Lent before descending into the tomb with Christ and emerging into Paschal new life.
This connection between pregnancy and salvation (the world's, Israel's or ours) seems to be what St. Paul is driving at when he says a woman may be saved by childbearing. Not that all will - nor will all benefit from Lent. But for the one that correctly appropriates Lent, Lent is salvific. So too with regard to pregnancy and childbearing.

- V.

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