While I was at Eucharistic Adoration this morning, I started thinking about the religious vocation as childbirth. To enter the religious vocation, you have to give up everything you have in order to gain everything that truly matters. I thought about the things I would have to give up . . . my family, movies, the quality of food and desert I’m used to, the various pleasure activities I engage in with my family on a day to day basis. All this self-abandonment reminds me of a child coming forth into the world. The child comes forth naked, without possessions. The umbilical cord that has always given him his life is then cut. The “umbilical cord” of my connection to my past life in the world will one day be cut, as will those of the other people that enter the religious vocation. I will pass naked and severed from the past into a new world and life, a greater and more glorious one, just as the child does at birth.
This reminds me also of the passing each human experiences at death, when moving into Heaven. They lose all their worldly attachments, all their life in the world. Their “umbilical cord” of attachment to the world is cut, and their life in the world, like the life of a child in the womb, is ended. The new child is born into Heaven, just as the religious is born into the religious life, and just as all Christians enter the Church through baptism, leaving behind a sinful life of attachment to the world in exchange for a new life. Jesus was stripped naked before the Romans and Jews killed Him, He was detested and mocked by the multitude, and He lost everything in this life directly before He was “born” into the new life of the resurrected body.
I wonder at the unity between these various transitions in people’s lives.