Three years ago Madeline joined the Body of Christ (here she is pictured with her Gaba, my mom). So many parents make a big (and unnecessary) fuss over their kids’ birthdays. Admittedly, I have planned a family party each year for Madeline that includes presents, a fancy cake and a bit of festooning. Celebrating her birth is important. This was the day I welcomed her into my arms.
But I also want to try to remember to celebrate the day we officially welcomed our children into the Catholic faith. I don’t do anything elaborate on her Baptismal Day. We simply light a white candle and then I say a prayer and tell her what makes her so special to me and that I am thankful we’re sharing our faith journey together. Then we look at pictures from her Baptismal Day. I point to her godparents – her Uncle Josh (my younger brother, who has proved to be a wonderful uncle and godfather) and Lili (one of my dear friends who isn’t just a Catholic as in a noun. She puts her faith into action and has even volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity in India). I tell her about the beautiful gown that Gaba fashioned out of her wedding dress (both girls wore this handmade garment for their Baptism). We talk about how Jesus extended a personal invitation to her that day to become one of his followers. As my girls grow older, I’ll further explain what it means to be Baptized, how our original sin is washed away, and perhaps we can even read a Bible passage together that relates to the Sacrament like the one we all heard at Mass on Sunday.
However we choose to commemorate this sacred day isn’t important, but I do hope I won’t let this milestone event in my children’s lives be overlooked. Our Baptisms are a beautiful, humbling Sacrament. Just think of Matthew’s account of the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus, who could have easily been “holier than thou,” insists on John baptizing him and not the other way around, despite John’s protests. Then the Holy Spirit descends upon him, as it does for us on our Baptismal Days. This clearly shows us what a gift Baptism is to each of us.
On the banks of the Jordan River, Jesus humbles himself and bends to will of God as does John.
Do I? It’s a question worth pondering as I not only remember Madeline’s Baptism but my own as well.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”