Parenthood

By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo

God created us humans to give birth to other humans.  God could have designed us to be born from trees as one of our famous Philippine folklores would have it in the story of Malakas and Maganda.  But God intended us to come from our parents so that there is that intimacy, even before we were born.  It is a love being developed through bearing of the baby by the mother and witnessed by the father as the tummy of the mother gets bigger.

Another reason why God designed us to be born in a family is because we need to be raised and taken care of for many years.  Some animals can live on their own without a parent.  These animals can already look for their food after birth.  But for humans, since the baby has to be raised for many years, God so designed marriage to be permanent (till death do us part) and exclusive (one man to one woman) so that there is a stable support for the child.  That’s why divorce is totally against God’s design and intention for marriage and the one who suffer the most when parents break up are children.  Advocates for divorce in the Philippines reason out that couples should not be condemned to a lifetime of a loveless marriage if the marriage does not work out.  Their way of reasoning is just for themselves: that it’s their love life, or it’s their happiness that is at stake.  We’ll, what about the children?

In the spiritual side, parenthood gives us an idea of who God is in relation to us.   If we have experienced and felt the love of a father and a mother within a family, we could picture and imagine how God as a father would love and take care of us as His children.  God is not an absentee parent who has left us to fend for ourselves after creating us.  That would be the beliefs of the agnostics. According to them, after God created the world, He has left us to manage it on our own.  Our Catholic faith however teaches us that there is Divine Providence, which is God’s constant care and guidance for us through our hearts and consciences and through all the events of our lives so that we may hopefully develop a loving relationship with God.  If there’s no Divine Providence, prayers would be useless.

Parenthood also teaches us self-giving and sacrifice.  Being a parent is all about taking care of another life other than our own.  It is not just lending a helping hand to another person once in a while but a full time 24/7 service to another human being.  It is a training and actual practice at the same time, a self-giving and self-forgetfulness for someone else which is what true love is.  It teaches us that there is more to life other than ourselves.  That’s why abortion is wrong.  Abortion has no intention of taking care another human.  It is wanting to be left alone and not to be bothered with raising babies that are considered as nuisance and a financial cost.  It is wanting the pleasure of sex without the product of sex.

But sex was precisely designed by God to produce babies within a family.  The pleasure is there so that we humans would have an incentive to do it, much like the pleasure in eating food.  If there’s no pleasure in eating then we will die of hunger.  If there is no pleasure in sex, no one would make babies.  In the same way that eating can be abused such as indulging in gluttony (overeating), sex can be abused when engaged outside of marriage or when the right purpose of sex is corrupted (e.g., contraception and abortion).

There is also a parenthood without producing babies.  It is called a spiritual parenthood.  Priests are precisely addressed as “Father” because they give birth to our spiritual life and nurture it through the sacraments and spiritual mentoring.  Priests are not the only spiritual parents we have.  Anyone, whether a religious or a lay person who helps us in our spiritual lives and who tries to bring us closer to God, practices spiritual parenthood on us. It is a kind of parenthood that lasts even in the next life when people in heaven love and take care of each other because we are to be sheep and shepherd of each other in this life and also in the next.

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