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What is the baby? (A question we try to avoid answering. We dislike the question because it implants a doubt: as if we didn’t know what our baby is. There it lies on the red blanket with the white lilies, spreading the fingers of its right hand. That is our baby. An inadequate answer, evasive, as are all the answers we could give. We suspect that this question is tempting us. To what? To admit that the divine needs us and that we are not as random as we would like to assure ourselves.)

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A leap of time, and we hear the voice of the baby as it may sound some day when it is no longer a baby: Climb upon the hill outside your city. Look at her and her constant growth, and look at the sky above her. How it watches over her with unchanging grandeur and power, though the sky itself does not grow.

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Our strong wish, again and again, to return to the adult point of view and stay there. To look at the baby from there, the better to see the little human being who knows nothing and needs us. We think: The baby can’t exist without us. That we can’t exist without the baby seems true, but it is a truth we resist. Then the baby screams, and without hesitation we heed his call.

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The baby’s outrageous proximity to death. Hence his composure. And the gravity he has brought with him into the world. A gravity untainted by fate, vanity, and judgment. No fear clouds the baby’s proximity to That which we dread above all (it is we who are cowards). His sleep is deeper than any depth we can imagine. With whom is he keeping a rendezvous down there? The baby’s faithful proximity to death. Hence his infinite pleasure in life.

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Babies everywhere (including babies like us). Babies everywhere: Our eyes blur, our ears burn. Outside and inside: babies. The only ones who exist: babies. Every day new babies. More and more babies. For years, centuries, millennia: more and more babies. The only constant in our world. Yet no single baby takes away from another; nor does it add anything.

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In handling the baby, let every touch be guided by affection. This demands discipline and allows for no practice. How could we practice something we were born with? The baby shows us our capacity by yielding itself to our care. Dressing the body, undressing the body; watch out for the head. You can do it: loving kindness, with no interruption.

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Contemplation of the baby continues (stops). Wondrous recognition: that irony, mockery, or ridicule are inconceivable here. All the usual artificialities of human distance have evaporated. That is the dignity that imbues the space between us and the baby. Where else is such completeness ever realized, we ask ourselves. Into the dawning of our fear that we could bring something into the world that would destroy this perfection, the baby shrieks with delight.