I wish I could have captured that moment in time. Forever. It was silent, sacred, sacramental.
I stood at the bedside of my daughter, Gaby, on Holy Saturday morning as she prepared to give birth. The room was cool and dimly lit, filled to the brim with the anticipation of new life. As I closed my eyes to pray for a safe delivery between Gaby’s instructed pushes, I entered into the sacrosanct silence of the room; the quiet hush of awe and reverence that comes in waiting for a child to be born.
Only one sound pierced the stillness—the steady beat of the baby’s heartbeat registering on the monitor rhythmically: thump, thump, thump.
Standing with my eyes shut tight, listening attentively to the baby’s heartbeat, I sensed the heart of Jesus pulsating with love for the world. Thump, thump, thump, I heard the God-man’s heart ringing out. I thought about the meaning of Holy Saturday—a day of anticipation, a time of looming rebirth, a period of waiting for the full bloom of love to burst forth from God’s heart, the same heart that had been silenced on Good Friday. It was a fitting day for Rose Grayson to be born.
Rose’s annunciation came the week before her father learned he had cancer, ushering in what would become a “Triduum” kind of year. A young family discovering they were pregnant and facing the reality of human mortality in one sweeping breath, moving from happy excitement to fear and grief, embracing the mysteries of life and death all at once. The hopeful expectation of a new baby, made present alongside the agony of not knowing the outcome of a cancer diagnosis. Baby readying, and the accompanying labor of cancer testing, surgeries, and waiting for results. The paradox of the cross, presented with penetrating clarity.
Then came the final prognosis: cancer free! And the ultrasound news: a girl, the first to join three brothers! I watched the little family move out of Good Friday as healing rays came and life resumed its course with renewed vigor and purpose. And now it was Holy Saturday, the day of Rose Grayson’s birth.
The womb is not unlike Jesus’ tomb, I pondered, waiting to see Rose’s tiny face. In a place of dark silence, an enclosed border establishes a clear boundary with the world, and life secretly does its bidding until the darkness is overcome with a burst of brilliant light. Suffering offered and labor pains become cries of joy: He is Risen! It’s a girl!
In the silent enclosure of a birthing room, I gave thanks to God. Grace has ushered in a resurrection. God has given us “Rosie Grace.”
Your death, Lord Jesus, is our life . Your grave the womb of radiant light.
Hymn for Holy Saturday Evening, The Vigil of The Resurrection