“We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now.” These are the words Paul used when speaking to the Romans about the coming of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:22). As a mother of two children, I have some experience in giving birth and this reading strikes a chord in me when thinking about my relationship with the Holy Spirit, especially in these days as we celebrate Pentecost.
In Spanish, childbirth is described as “dar a luz” or “to give to the light.” Another way of saying it is “to bring forth from the darkness.” Today, darkness is often associated with death and emptiness. But in scripture as in childbirth, our notion of darkness is much different. It is a time of hidden gestation. It is a necessary stage of inward preparation of a life yet to be revealed. But when that life bursts forth into the light, whether in childbirth or in scripture, anyone standing in the presence of that new life is transformed.
We become bathed in love and hope when we encounter new life for the first time. That is what the Holy Spirit is meant to be, a permanent presence in our lives that urges us to ongoing conversion; a constant gestational cycle of darkness to light and death to life. When we abandon ourselves to the Spirit our groans become forces of push rather than resistance.