From noise and chaos to whispering and stillness, we look with St. Paul upon the mystery of suffering with hope.
precious of miracles. He says our pains will be forgotten in the splendour of the revealed children of God: our children, and God's children. He says there is always hope, as long as the fullness of God remains obscured until the right time. To help us bear our waiting, God has gifted us with hope, which opens us to the Spirit and the vision of a better future.
There is so much to wonder at here. There is Paul's unPaul-like attunement to the magnificently constructive experience of childbirth. He doesn't dwell on the taboos associated with blood and contamination. Instead Paul imagines womankind as holding onto agency and dignity even in extreme powerlessness. The birthing woman groans, but she groans with hope. She claims the universal right to ask for God's help as she faces the unknown. She does not know the future, but she hopes for a future, even a splendid future.
This is a time of crumbling empires, a time of women labouring to bring forth children of uncertain citizenship. It is a time when we, whose hopes have been so often fulfilled, are called to be hope-bearers. Let us grasp the hands of our sisters and, where words and language and even ideas fail, let us entreat the Spirit to speak for us, with hope, into God's ear in God's own language.