BAPTISM? – does it make a difference?
There are two times in our life when we are washed by the waters of baptism. The first time is our physical baptism, our “birth-day” when the water breaks in our mother’s womb and we are “birthed” into the world … from the womb to the world.
The second time is when we are “baptised” (immersed – plunged) into the spiritual waters of God’s love and mercy, his imagination and creativity and his blessings. This is when we are transformed and empowered to grow into a deep and personal relationship with GOD (who is Father – Son (Jesus) – Holy Spirit), and into the CHURCH, the People of God. Our spiritual baptism, empowers us to focus our journey throughout our daily life towards Eternal Life. That is when we are encouraged to recall an important reminder: “Don’t wait until you are dead to become a saint!” Mother Teresa of Calcutta embodied this dictum with her life: “Each one of us is Jesus in disguise”.
From the womb to the tomb takes time and effort, focus and hard work; we need to learn how to “grow up”. From the very beginning, we instinctively know that we can’t grow up alone – so we cry for food and comfort and safety. We are totally dependent on others – mother, parents, family, friends and the community. Each person, each experience, helps us to grow, to become the person that God has designed us to be … his beloved! And so we grow physically, academically, emotionally into a unique and special person. Then we also truly become a GIFT to all the many people who come into our life.
The gift and graces of our spiritual baptism helps us grow in character and personality, to embody “the spirit” within ourself. However, we also come to realize that we have to nourish and hone this part of ourself as well – in our prayer life, and an on-going participation in our sacramental life. There is no magic here, just a deliberate and conscientious focus that we must make room for “God” in our daily life. as St. Catherine of Sienna once said: “Be who God created you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
In our Baptism, we are call by name, predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29). This is the challenge and mission given to us in baptism – to be an agent of life and light, forgiveness and healing in our broken world, to live each day as a “Resurrected Person”. This is what it means when Jesus calls us to “Be in the world, but not of the world”. (Romans 12:2) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
SO … Does baptism make a difference in our life? Only if we take this GIFT seriously and consistently. Life can be cruel at times; the “world” can be cruel at times. If we are afraid to be different, how can we make a difference in the world? Jesus assures us: Don’t be afraid; I am with you ALL-WAYS”. The power and graces of our baptism makes the difference!
Let us pray:
Many today are starving for ordinary bread. But there is another kind of hunger,
The hunger to be wanted, to be loved, to be recognized.
Naked too is not just the want of clothes,
But also about the loss of dignity, purity and self-respect.
And homelessness is not just the want of a house;
There is the homelessness of being rejected, excluded,
of being unwanted in a throw-away society.
The greatest evil in the world is the lack of love,
The terrible indifference towards one’s neighbor.
Lord, warm our cold hearts with your grace,
So that, we your disciples, may produce the fruits of love.
SO … wherever you go, go with God. Whenever you go, go make a difference.
St. Joseph … pray for us
St. Philip Neri … pray for us
St. Eugene de Mazenod … pray for us
Praise be Jesus Christ, and Mary Immaculate
Fr. Mike Dechant OMI