Fr. Shenan J. Boquet: The Blessings of ‘Ordinary’ Children

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By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, Human Life International, July 15, 2019

Sign of Hope

“In its most profound reality, love is essentially a gift; and conjugal love, while leading the spouses to the reciprocal “knowledge” which makes them “one flesh,” does not end with the couple, because it makes them capable of the greatest possible gift, the gift by which they become cooperators with God for giving life to a new human person. Thus the couple, while giving themselves to one another, give not just themselves but also the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love, a permanent sign of conjugal unity and a living and inseparable synthesis of their being a father and a mother.”

— Pope St. John Paul II (Familiaris Consortio, 14)

The English writer G.K. Chesterton loved pointing out that we are surrounded by seemingly “ordinary” things that are in fact so suffused with beauty and mystery, that we ought by all rights to be walking about in a perpetual state of stunned wonder. As he famously put it: “There is a law written in the darkest of the Books of Life, and it is this: If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time.” What he meant is, that thousandth time, you might slough off your old pereptual habits that took the thing for granted and see the thing for what it is: a pure, mysterious gift.

G. K. Chesterton, aged 31

One of the ordinary things that Chesterton sought to show us in a new light was the family. A quote often attributed to him goes like this: “The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.” Now, I can’t seem to find a source for this quote. But the sentiment is unquestionably Chestertonian in nature. The fact of a man and a woman falling in love, their desire to unite their lives together with an unbreakable vow, and the children that – God willing – naturally follow: on the one hand these are utterly straightforward things, and on the other, filled with an unspeakable beauty and mystery. These ordinary things are really the most extraordinary things. ….