Amoris Laetitia 168-169: Love and Pregnancy

amoris laetitia memeHuman pregnancy possess an essential difference from that of other living beings. A human mother has an intentional agency, like that of God’s, not only to conceive, but to bring new life into being and nurture it. Let’s read:

168. Pregnancy is a difficult but wonderful time. A mother joins with God to bring forth the miracle of a new life. Motherhood is the fruit of a “particular creative potential of the female body, directed to the conception and birth of a new human being”.(John Paul II, Catechesis (12 March 1980), 3) Each woman shares in “the mystery of creation, which is renewed with each birth”.(Ibid.)

Well-known and oft-cited Old Testament references:

The Psalmist says: “You knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13). Every child growing within the mother’s womb is part of the eternal loving plan of God the Father: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jer 1:5).

God has an intention for every human being:

Each child has a place in God’s heart from all eternity; once he or she is conceived, the Creator’s eternal dream comes true. Let us pause to think of the great value of that embryo from the moment of conception. We need to see it with the eyes of God, who always looks beyond mere appearances.

If #168 is grounded in TOB and the OT, this brief section is another aspect of Ignatian spirituality breaking out, namely, the encouragement of the human imagination. Parents share in this. I can testify that even adoptive parents participate in this wonderment and dreaming:

169. A pregnant woman can participate in God’s plan by dreaming of her child. “For nine months every mother and father dreams about their child… You can’t have a family without dreams. Once a family loses the ability to dream, children do not grow, love does not grow, life shrivels up and dies”.(Address at the Meeting with Families in Manila (16 January 2015)) For Christian married couples, baptism necessarily appears as a part of that dream. With their prayers, parents prepare for baptism, entrusting their baby to Jesus even before he or she is born.

Baptism is the culmination of the dream of a child on the way; the end of one phase as another begins. For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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