It’s there alright, but you have to long for it.
In a strange way, then, the analogy with the Christ child is even more stunning. Our children don’t just bring us joy because we love them—they bring us joy because they teach us to love. And in this sense they are our saviors: not because they are divine—but because in being selfish and needy and demanding they rescue us from the agony of our narcissism.
As the French novelist Léon Bloy wrote: “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” The joy of the Christ Child then—the joy of our own children—is the joy of the opportunity to escape such a fate. Joy to the world, indeed.
Catherine Ruth Pakaluk is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University, a Faculty Research Fellow at the Stein Center for Social Research, and a Senior Fellow in Economics at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. Her research is focused in the areas of demography, gender, family studies, and the economics of education and religion. She also works on the interpretation and history of Catholic social thought. Dr. Pakaluk earned her doctorate in economics at Harvard University (2010). She lives in Ave Maria, Florida with her husband Michael and seven children.
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