Sunday, April 17, 2011

Taking Care of Baby Jesus

This is no easy task, rearing a baby, especially Baby Jesus.  The problem is the caretaker's chronic pain and age, for the most part.  The issue that makes tending Baby Jesus more difficult in some ways is that He knows all one's thoughts, sees all that is going on, hears all, and comprehends all not as a baby and not even just as an adult, but as God.

So here we have a baby who is the preeminent, penultimate, primordial, eternal mystic.  But he is to be tended as a baby since he is in baby form, at least here, for now.

My spiritual director told me to show Christ's love to others, for I had told him that I challenge Catholics...particularly Catholics.  I was thrilled with the idea presented--not in showing people Christ's love as we usually visualize the adult Christ, but of showing people Baby Jesus' love.  So I mentioned this, and the director said that Jesus grows up.  And I said He hasn't grown up yet at my house; He is still a baby here, and I am to tend Him as a baby for now.

So have been pondering here what it is to take care of Baby Jesus.  The first thing to consider is simplifying what I am doing, as in practical matters since tending a baby does require certain tasks.  I made a list of how my life would change, what it would entail, rearing a baby in this life phase, and not just any baby: Baby Jesus.  (The list is not in order of priority.  Not sure there is a priority, but maybe.)
  • Learn to play the harp well, not just proficiently, for Baby Jesus would feel at home with harp music, and it would soothe at nap and bedtime;
  • Keep up the gardens because it will remind Baby Jesus of paradise and of His Mother to whom the gardens are dedicated in part; plus Baby Jesus has a place to play and enjoy;
  • Make the hermitage a clean and orderly, and His room tidy and peaceful;
  • Read books for Baby Jesus, learning more about Him, what are His desires, and how to converse and interact with Him as He grows;
  • Protect Baby Jesus from outside influences that are not suitable for any child but especially such a Child as This; 
  • Cook the meals, do the laundry, pay the bills; maintain the daily life required for His life on earth;
  • Take Baby Jesus to Church and try being all a parent of Jesus ought to be.
This last part lends into what is most difficult for me.  The very first morning on the way to Mass with Baby Jesus, I had to say to Him (in His car seat in the back seat of the car), "Oh, Baby Jesus!  Your poor old surrogate caretaker is full of pain today and is very grumpy!"  Try as I might, and praying to pull out of the grumps, it didn't really happen until late in the day.

So I started to pray asking God the Father to please make rearing Baby Jesus so real and actual that I'd have the motivation and focus to push through my human failings in order to do a very good job.  Well, one can pray, but in this case, there needed to be change within the person praying, too.  There also needed to be recognition of just how humbling is this task of tending Baby Jesus.

I decided to practice the harp two hours a day, a bit at a time, and to get out in the gardens despite wind and chill and clear debris from last season.  Yet I could not seem to make the body do it, at least not to the goals set.  The grumpiness did abate some, but soon Baby Jesus' surrogate parent was distracting itself with email and video clips of daily news.  What a waste because Baby Jesus knows all about it, and would prefer my attention to praying for souls and the world.

Also, I tried to help a woman who is insistent upon going to a new-age type forum that is psychologically dangerous.  She had asked me what I thought of it, and to check it out.  Well, it is terrible and has been called a cult and scam and banned in other countries.  No one with common sense, let alone someone who says they are on the spiritual path, would or should attend, let alone pay a lot of money to do so.  The woman would not listen but rather argued and countered back.  I tried to approach the situation with Baby Jesus love, then Beatitude love (some woes in there), and finally with Jesus-clearing-the-Temple love...all to no avail.

There is much yet to learn about rearing Baby Jesus.  I confess I am not doing a very good job thus far.  But I am trying and have the desire.  Although a young priest registered alarm when I mentioned the dream and shared that I was simplifying my life goals so as to take care of Baby Jesus, I persist.  

The young priest advised, "Don't do ANYTHING for Baby Jesus," his brow furrowed and eying me as if I was verging on a breakdown.  "Just play the harp for YOU."  I explained that I don't want to play the harp for me because it adds back pain to sit to practice--not worth it just for me.  So the young priest suggested I find something else to do just for me.  But there is nothing other than to get into bed, offer to exchange my life of constant pain for someone who has cancer to be healed and live.  The young priest said to do that, then.

By the time I drove back to the hermitage, I knew that what I would do for myself is not what I ought to do, and rearing Baby Jesus is what I must do, even if I do so ineptly, even horribly.  I endured the neighbor woman making an obscene finger gesture at me, and then took out the trash.  Right now I am going to vacuum the carpet even though that is the hardest task on my painful back.  But Baby Jesus is having guests come soon to visit: Two adults and two little girls.  They will all be here with Baby Jesus, even though they will not consciously be aware that He is here.

Set out on the Comfort Chest in the small great room, is a tiny plaster (found out not wood yesterday when I accidentally broke His arm) form of Baby Jesus.  Maybe one of the little girls will discover Him there.  

My body feels broken all over this morning, but I'd better get the place ready for Baby Jesus' visitors.  (A very good thing about Baby Jesus is that He does not require temporal things in the same way we do, but He expects all to be temporally handled in as positive, truthful way as possible.

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