In the three months of experiences since my daughter Cecilia was born, I have learned some very powerful testimony concerning the discovery of God. There were some frustrating times during that first week with Cecilia. Talk about a major learning curve for a new father and a new mother. It must have been during the first two or three weeks at home with Cecilia that I was struck with an insight about God. During one of the whispered conversations with my wife at night (whispered because Cecilia sleeps in our bed), I said that seeing Cecilia completely dependent upon my wife for most of her needs, I cannot help but draw a very powerful connection between a mother and a newborn in that the mother is the face of God to this new and precious life.
Think about it for a minute. The newborn needs nourishment, comfort, a feeling of security, cleaning, etc. This young daughter of mine is competely dependent upon us, her parents. And from her parents, she gets everything she needs to live and be well. To provide for her, we act in a manner like God. Does not God gives us what we need: comfort, security, the nourishment from the Eucharist, and the cleansing away of sins? Very inchoately, this child of God takes in new feelings and thoughts about her place in the world. She knows who will take care of her in her moments of needs and distress. You can sense that because she does not want to be with other people; she wants always to be with her parents, especially her mother. Some have told us that we spoil her too much with our attention because she always wants to be held by us; I respond by saying that we are showing her the love she needs, and in the future, she will know who she can trust and depend upon for anything in life. In these moments you are, in a sense, God for her. Her recognition and love of God begins in what we do for her now. And through our own love and selflessness, she is beginning to see the love of God Himself through the care given to her.
To care for an infant, you have to lose yourself and give of yourself completely to this new life. This new life depends upon you for everything! Seeing my wife take care of Cecilia has given me this great insight into the powerful witness of a mother's love and how that mother's love is the very love of God for the new precious life, awakening a day in which she will encounter God for herself. Hans Urs von Balthasar comes close to such an appraisal of a mother's care for her child in his discussion of this analogy concerning Trinitarian relationship between Father and Son (I don't remember the exact place but it was in a translated article I read way back when in Systematic Theology).
If only more women and men realized the beauty and majesty found in the care and love poured out to a new life - that you can be the very face of God in your tender care and outpouring of love. Because it is in these moments that the newborn comes to love and know what love means. To be the face of God everyday, every moment is not an easy task. It takes God's grace to be that everyday. Sure, there are moments of struggle and difficulty, and when you think things are getting worse, but you have to remember to rely upon God for His strength and to refocus yourself because a young soul needs you and your support.