"Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb."
I've thought about that line from Luke often. The child in the womb leapt. On this day when hundreds of thousands of people will march for children in the womb, those words have great meaning. The child leapt.
I also can't help but think what a wonderfully appropriate reaction the unborn John had to the presence of Jesus. He leapt. There is something unrestrained and joyous about it that has long fascinated me.
Christianity is, after all, a leaping faith. Without us doing much of anything to deserve it, God's Son came into the world for the purpose of our salvation. That's about the best reason to leap I've ever heard.
But I fear in looking at my life and my faith that I haven't been much of a leaper. My faith has always been quieter, more book bound. It's said that Saul was tossed to the ground and found faith. Me, I sat comfortably down on a cushioned chair to read the fathers of the Church in the university library. I sat there for hours for weeks on end reading until the librarian kicked me out at midnight. Sometimes if I was in the middle of a certain sentence or thought I'd stand under the overhead lights in the parking lot trying to create or conquer one more objection to Christianity.
I've always been a little jealous of those who came in to Christianity with Alleluias, hand waving, and being so filled up with Christ's love that every time they open their mouth they just can't help but talk of anything but Christ.
My entrance to Christianity was highlighters, reference books and some late night questioning of patient Jesuits.
To this day, I see some walk up to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and their faces look like a house with every light on. It's beautiful. And I know it reflects poorly on me but I've sometimes been jealous of that look. Jealous of that feeling, all that light.
But I console myself with saying perhaps we all leap in different ways with different spans. Heck, I was born a Catholic and then ended up a Catholic so certainly my leap isn't one fit for highlight reels. I console myself with thinking that leaping is done in many ways.
I count as some of my greatest leaps swallowing my tongue when something terrible was on its tip, getting up fifteen minutes before my children to make them breakfast (I don't like mornings), and saying a quick prayer of gratitude when I wasn't feeling grateful at all.
I am not one whose leap will astound anyone. My response to Christ's love is gratitude and an attempt at steadfastness. I pick my children up from school every afternoon, I try to listen to them and take what they say seriously even though I know they don't know their multiplication tables, and I quietly say the rosary at night before bed with my wife.
While some lives are epic songs of salvation, mine has been a murmured and repititious prayer. I suspect many of ours leaps have gone unnoticed by most.
But today, we march right up under the nose of the Supreme Court on what might just be the coldest day of the year and remind them that life is sacred. I know that few will mark my presence there. But I know God will notice. And maybe if all of us leap at the same time, the world might just notice too. And move right under our feet.