Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Dec. 6 - Feast of St. Nicholas
Why today is such an important day for our family...
We tried to have Rose baptized at our new parish when we moved away but when we inquired about baptism they told us we would have to be parishioners for three months for Rose to receive the sacrament of baptism there. Granted we were inquiring about this three months after she was born and we didn't want to wait any longer to have her baptized. Since this new parish had over 7,000 parishioners and we didn't personally know the priests we decided it best that we come back home to have her baptized.
By the time we made arrangements for her baptism, Rose's Godmother, Sally, was traveling outside the country and when she arrived home our beloved priest, Fr. Bud, was traveling outside of the country as well. We had to wait a few more months until all the details came together all the while thinking Rose will be fine until we get her baptized but still having a sense of urgency to push forward with making this happen.
We finally settled on the date, Dec. 6th, the Feast of St. Nicholas for her baptism.
Rose's baptism was a most beautiful occasion. Our favorite faithful friends came to pray and celebrate with us.
Rose was only baptized 30 days before her unexpected death.
How I thanked and praised God for the gift of her baptism.
I know there are people who do not believe in infant baptism and do not understand the sense of urgency some Christians have to baptize a child. I don't want to start a discussion on infant baptism but the bible is full of scripture verses referring to and asking the children and infants to come to Jesus.
I once knew a priest who said, "Don't worry too much about getting the babies baptized right away. They are fine and if it is too stressful when they are newborns wait until things calm down."
This priest eventually left the priesthood but if I saw him again I would tell him he was wrong with his approach on waiting to baptize infants as we never know when death will come upon any of us so why would we delay anyone's baptism?
We know a beautiful and faithful family that lost their newborn daughter during what was supposed to be a normal and safe surgical procedure for her medical condition. Thankfully there was a priest at the hospital with them but their story is another difficult example of how we never know what is really going to happen from one moment to the next.
Sadly we just think if we try hard enough to control our lives we will somehow be able to.
We've had to learn the hard way that control is only an illusion and control is the opposite of love.
Now I have to wake up everyday and ask for the strength to let go of my controlling tendencies.
And today I now understand that the need to control our own lives and the lives of our family and friends, no matter how well meaning it is, is out of fear of having no control at all. And what would happen if we knew deep down knew we had no real control in our lives (which all of us will eventually know one day - losing a loved one, having an accident, losing our health, the break up of a marriage, things not going in accordance to what the vision of lives originally was, and ultimately losing our own lives...) we would have to rely upon God 100% and this would be the most scary thing of all...for us to give up total control of our lives and completely surrender to the will of the Father.
But people do this and become saints in heaven and become beacons of light for us to learn to let go...
In our home we have not done the best job celebrating baptismal days. My children were lucky if we recognized the month in which our children were baptized. But with one child, we made a mistake. I thought our daughter Therese was baptized in October (we had misplaced her baptismal certificate and it wasn't in the "sacraments" file) and this past spring I was given a copy of her baptismal certificate from the church where she was baptized as she needed it for her First Communion. I wept with tears of joy when I saw that her baptismal date was actually today, the same date as her sweet sister, Rose.
What if we had actually known Therese's baptismal date? I probably would have said, "Oh, no we will need to change Rose's baptismal date so they will be baptized on different days." What if I would have pushed off Rose's baptismal date? But thankfully in my confusion I did not know the correct date and because of my ignorance, my daughter Therese has a very special connection with her sister, Rose who is now a saint in heaven.
And for us, this is just another sign that He is present among us, continually revealing Himself by taking care of all the details, big and small...