Natalie was baptized this afternoon at the same church where I was baptized, received First Communion and then was Confirmed. My mother was also the Youth Minister in charge of junior and senior high religious education for ten years. All of our family members and many of our close family friends joined us today at the church to witness and then celebrate Natalie's initiation into the Catholic faith.
Getting dressed in her christening gown before the ceremony.
Being blessed with the holy water while being held by her godparents, my brother Mike and my close friend Kate.
The four adults in charge of the spiritual raising of this child. Uh oh. Ha, ha, ha.
At one point during the ceremony Deacon Harry proposed an interesting (and rhetorical) question.
Why get your child baptized?
As a man of faith he wants to make sure that people are baptizing children with the intent to truly raise them in the Christian manner and not just because the grandparents request it or because "it's just the thing you do." I've thought a lot about this in the past few weeks leading up to today. Why do I want her baptized? What am I commiting to do as a mother for my child through this action? How does this one ceremony shape the morals and values that my family will uphold?
It's very simple. I want Natalie to have a relationship with God.
I want her to understand that everything good and perfect is sent from God.
I want her to know that she is made perfectly in his image from the very top of her head to the tips of her toes.
I want her to have a spiritual shield and sword to combat the trials and struggles that she'll come up against in her life.
I want her walk in the footsteps of Jesus and strive to treat people with compassion, respect, kindness and without prejudice.
I want her to lead by example and be a Christian role model for those around her thus spreading the glory of God.
I want her to know that in her darkest hour when she is feeling the most alone, she is not.
And selfishly....I know that I can't always protect her from everything that is bad in this world. She will hurt and she will cry and I won't always be there. But God will. And as a mother who will eventually send my precious baby out into the world, I have to cling to the knowledge that God will always be with my baby even when I am not.