Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bring Back Baptism

I love my new road bike so much that I want to ride it nearly every day.  For me, biking is the best way to really reflect on the Rosary mysteries.  My mind just completely clears, and all the burdens I'm carrying almost magically slip from my shoulders.  My Rosaries somehow stretch into 40 minutes or more while I ride.  My mind sometimes wanders or my attention is diverted by traffic or a country dog, but I often have revelations that surprise me.

Today as I prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, the First Luminous Mystery, The Baptism of Jesus, held my attention.  I recalled the days when I was a lukewarm Catholic, attending Mass every Sunday mainly as an insurance policy against hell.  On the days when the "Reserved" signs on the front pews and the babies dressed in white frills indicated a Baptism, I'd impatiently look at my watch. 

"Great!  Mass is going into overtime!" I'd think, despite the fact that I rarely had anything important to do the rest of the day.  I fear many Catholics have the same thoughts since Baptisms are rarely performed during Mass these days.  What a shame!

Imagine what would have happened nearly 2000 years ago if that attitude had prevailed.  What if the people passing by the Jordan River sometime around January of 30 A.D., rolled their eyes and said, "There's that John the Baptist again, blocking the roads with crowds watching some guy get dunked in the river!"  They would have missed an amazing event. 

The Son of God, the Word Made Flesh, the Messiah, the Redeemer was about to initiate the Sacrament of Baptism by humbly undergoing it Himself.  That too-busy-to-find-15-minutes-to-watch-a-Baptism crowd would have missed the opening of heaven when "... the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'" (Luke 3:21-22)  I don't think even the Super Bowl could top that!

I think that it is important to baptize babies and new Catholics during a Mass, in front of the congregation.  Baptism is a sacrament of initiation, and should be celebrated publicly, not in some side room on a Saturday afternoon.

Another benefit of Baptism during Mass is the opportunity to renew our own Baptismal promises.  We should occasionally reflect on these promises and what they mean in our lives.  Are we really remaining true to these promises?  (Especially the ones about rejecting Satan's work and empty promises!) 

Next time you see the Reserved signs and the babies swathed in white lace, rejoice at the opportunity to welcome another lamb or sheep into the fold and to renew your own promises to truly live your life as a follower of Christ.


Rock Farm said...

Amen, sister! To the biking, too ; )


Anonymous said...

These teaching meditations should be collected into a book and published!

Peggy Bowes said...

Thank you for the encouragement! As always, I give credit to the Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit.