As a mother carries a child within her womb,
resting, beloved, just beneath her heart,
so too, in love, I carry, God,
my brothers and sisters here within my soul.
The woman feels within herself
the child’s slightest movements.
This presence alive within her
irradiates her being with joy.
Yet she also knows that this child
causes her suffering by its neediness,
for it drinks unceasingly from her being
for its very life.
Yet she can hardly call this “suffering,”
for it is penetrated through and through by love.
Someone is not a burden
when they are so clearly a gift.
In the heart of one loving and interceding
the sap of life is also drained,
yet never depleted,
for love begets love, unceasing.
To let one’s every moment
be eaten up by them and by their need
is only to find oneself enriched.
For how could giving, really,
ever be a loss?
It is only the flowing out
of Love, through love, to love,
and the flowing back of all,
through love, into the Love you are.
To bear the world within the heart, dear God,
listening unceasingly for its heartbeat,
pressed up there against my own.
To rejoice in this heartbeat, lovingly,
even when it is one of pain and longing.
For to bear another’s burden
is always a mystery of joy.
This is because it is intimacy,
the truth of unity which we seek,
and also because, in all truth,
it is not we who carry any burden,
but you, my God, who carry us,
like a mother bearing her child in her womb.
When a woman gazes, lovingly,
upon her newborn child,
filled with awe and spontaneous love,
delighting in the one within her arms,
she is praying, even if she does not know.
Gratitude at the gracious gift,
wonder before the mystery,
the heart immediately reaches out to you,
It opens like a flower to the morning sun,
its petals wet with gentle dew
glistening in the light.
This mystery of joy, amazing,
was born from those birth-pangs,
another mystery, full of awe and pain,
yet also of mysterious joy, unexplainable.
The whole being is harnessed
in giving birth to something beautiful…
and yet this person who is now a mother
is, and has always been, a child.
Indeed, perhaps she is now more a child
than she has ever been before,
or at least she knows it now,
this gift that she has received
and still receives, unceasingly.
To pray in the prayer of compassion,
my loving God, is to share in this love too,
for the human heart also is a womb,
bearing the reality of Love within
to be born without.
Yet it also bears the world, growing,
to be born more fully
into your own perfect life of love.
This mystery alive within my heart
is the birth-pangs of all creation,
both mine and theirs,
enfolded within your Love.
I lie here in the darkness
with my forehead to the floor,
my heart close to the ground,
Here it feels, secretly,
the heartbeat of creation.
She is often called mother-nature,
but this is not quite accurate.
It is true that she is silently mothering
the fields and the flowers,
giving birth anew to beauty
with every passing day.
And it is true also that
from her dust our flesh has been taken.
Yet she is not, ultimately, our mother,
for it is not from nature that we have sprung.
From your Heart, eternal God,
where we are begotten in your Son,
from the womb of Trinity-Love
from which we are born:
this is the source of our being
and the fountain of all motherhood
within this world in which we live.
The human heart also is a womb,
yes, this heart within my breast.
It does not matter that I am a man,
for before you I receive as a spouse.
And when I abide here before you,
carrying within myself this heartbeat,
silently remaining, hiddenly surging,
which I have received from them,
their pains, their hopes, their aspirations,
I am silently mothering, in this solitude,
the joy, the intimacy, the life
which you desire to give.