April 3, 2010

My First Born

I didn't anticipate this, but this afternoon I have found myself somewhat emotional as I reflect on the baptism of my first catechumen tonight. I've done and witnessed plenty of baptisms, of course, but this is the first time that I myself have prepared and catechized someone according to the RCIA, praying and reflecting with her over the last two years.

I'm proud of her faithfulness to the program and desire for baptism. But I'm also anxious. Did I cover enough to make a foundation for a Catholic lifetime?

There's a kind of bittersweet letting-go in all of it. I have succeeded. In a few hours my ministry will have brought a newborn Christian into this world, a living, fresh sign of the power of Resurrection. At the thought of that I'm overcome with the humble tears of my unworthiness as I reflect on the searing mercy of God that has made shallow and distracted old me into a steward of the deepest of Mysteries. As I present her to her pastor to be baptized, there's a kind of wholesome grief about it too, of letting go of a child who is about to become an adult in the spiritual order, and whom I now set free into the confounding and delightful economies of Grace within which we stumble on our way through the pilgrimage of this life.

May God delight in his neophyte.

4 comments:

timh said...

Father, this is profoundly touching. I obviously presented all 4 of my children in this manner, but without such realized thoughts. (I was so young, and a child of the 60's.) "But I'm also anxious. Did I cover enough to make a foundation for a Catholic lifetime?" This is surely what I pray each day now, and try to speak to them about, in hopes that oneday soon they'll realize their foundation and return...

Greg said...

Friar, I will be thinking of you and your catechumen tonight as I, also a catechuman, one who is deeply in love with Francis, will partake of the rite of baptism and confirmation.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Your posts reveal a deep love of the people you serve. I am sure you gave her a solid foundation. As an RCIA product myself, I can share that one year, two years, ten years is not enough to understand the incredible breadth and depth of Catholicism. I read every day -- the classics, the mystics, anything I can get my hands on. I am still learning. I teach Catechism and attend training sessions and religious education conferences. I am still learning. I take advantage of anyone who will serve as a spiritual director to me. I am still learning. I am sure that she will still be learning, too, for as long as she lives. From your post, it appears that you have set her on the path. She has to walk the path on her own. We all do. Have a blessed Easter!

Brother Charles said...

Elizabeth: I can't believe I'm almost eighteen years baptized myself. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This too was part of God's mercy.