Sunday, January 11, 2015


Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. We had a visiting priest today and he led us through the renewal of our baptismal promises.

I’ve been thinking a bit about baptism over the last couple of days knowing that today is the
Baptism of the Lord.  I was thinking about my earliest memories of baptism, and what I understand it’s meaning to be today.

I was raised protestant, as I have written about before here. My earliest memory of baptism is from the Nazarene Church where I spent most of my childhood growing up in. The basement of that church was a big wide open room.  I remember singing lots of children’s songs gathered in the big room for Children’s Church and I remember having Sunday School in a sectioned off portion of that room.  We spent so much time in that church that we had plenty of time to explore. We knew every inch of that little church which was really a neat thing for us as there were a couple different staircases and three different levels.  Anyway, one of the most fascinating things was in the big open room in the basement, there was a door in the floor in one area.  I remember one day we asked one of my friend’s dads what it was. He pulled open the door to reveal a large pool with stairs down into it. It was the baptismal.  We, of course, were fascinated that this whole time running around all over that church we had discovered a secret hidden most of the time.  And then of course I never trusted walking over that part of the floor again. 

I got baptized in that baptismal, I can’t be certain what age I was, but I had to be around ten or eleven. What disappoints me is that I have only very slightest memories of my baptism. I remember being scared about being under water, (still not my favorite thing) and I remember being in the bathroom after soaking wet.   They remodeled the basement shortly after that; they turned the big open space into three rooms, two classrooms and a nursery.  I did a lot of babysitting in that nursery, which was built directly over the baptismal.  I do remember thinking of the baptismal often when I was in that room. I can’t recall exactly what I was thinking about it, but somehow I think I felt sad that it was now covered up, no longer to be used.

When my mom married my step-dad we started attending a Southern Baptist Church.  That baptismal was very different. When you were sitting in the pews looking straight ahead there was a window that wasn’t a window but an opening that was in front of the baptismal. So when someone was being baptized, you just sat in the pew and watched.  I got baptized in that baptismal also.  You see, the protestant denominations that I have been a part of believed that you should be baptized into that church.  Again, I have fairly vague memories of that baptism, mostly just the wetness of it, and having to change in the classroom at the bottom of the back stairs.  

But this baptism means more to me now, now that I am Catholic. It was the certificate from this baptism on November 6, 1983 that the Catholic Church accepted when I was coming to the end of my journey into the Catholic Church, as it states I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I know that many Catholics were baptized as infants and have no memory at all of their baptism. I hope some of you at least have pictures. 

As we celebrate the Lord’s baptism today, I hope you think about your own baptism.  I hope that you can remember what it is and what it means. It is one of the many gifts from God that is taken for granted, but it is our membership into the Body of Christ. It is a cleansing of our souls from original sin and the first sacramental grace we receive.  It is a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us and we need to remember that he has given that love to us freely, freely dying on the cross for us, so that our sins could be forgiven.  How will you respond to that kind of love?  And I hope that as we all renew our baptismal promises again at the Easter Vigil, you will think about those promises and what they mean.

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1 comment:

Ooohhh....So happy you are commenting!