So we're not Catholic, but after working for a group of Benedictine Sisters for many years and sending our son to parochial school...we're starting to catch on to some of the rituals and feasts and saints and everything else that typically mystifies we Protestants.
Monday was the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, a day when Catholics celebrate Mary's "Yes" to answering God's call to be Christ's mother. The special message was brought to her by the Angel Gabriel.
And that is how we chose our son's name; felt he was our own little angel and a special message from a higher power.
And Gabe delights in knowing it.
So on the way to school today we talked about where his name came from. My first-grade son mused, "I bet when Mary gave birth to baby Jesus it was twice as hard."
That comment needed a little clarification, so I asked why he thought that.
"Because Jesus had special powers," he answered. "You know, how he taught us to be nice to others and to be helpful. He was really strong that way. So I'm thinking Mary had a tough time with him."
I smiled and thought to myself, I was in labor for 24 hours with my little angel. I could have used a little divine inspiration myself at that point.
But I was surprised by the connection he made - that someone who is strong in heart and spirit must also be strong physically, is more powerful with regards to sheer strength and size. Even as a baby.
It's interesting how children view the world, how they interpret events and ideas. Any ideas. Religious or not. The wheels in their minds are always turning, always making connections.
In a way, I envy his innocence that only the strong in body are strong in heart.
But I look forward to watching him learn that many times it's the weaker body that encases the strongest spirit who inspires us all to great things.