|(Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
More than 20 years ago, my former pastor asked us if we all knew the dates of our Baptism. No one did. “You should,” he exclaimed, “it was the most important day of your life. You should celebrate it every year.”
Until he asked, I had never given much thought to the day of my baptism save for being vaguely thankful my parents had had me baptized. Father’s suggestion made sense to me. I made a mental note to look it up and follow the good priest’s suggestion. Unfortunately, like many of my “good intentions” this one got lost in the ebb and flow of life’s daily challenges.
Fifteen years later while meditating on the first Luminous Mystery of the Rosary, the Baptism of our Lord in the Jordan, Father’s suggestion from years ago suddenly jumped into my head. This time I resolved to follow it.
When I returned home that day, I rifled through the file in which we store our valuable documents and there it was - my Baptism certificate. My eyes quickly scanned the sheet to see on what date I had been baptized. I jotted that date down, returned the certificate to its secure place, and immediately set an annual reminder on my Google calendar. I was not going to miss another anniversary!
And I didn’t. Last year when the anniversary approached, a question popped into my consciousness while I was praying the rosary, “What was the name of the Church in which you were baptized?” I had no clue.
I retrieved the Baptism certificate from its dusty folder shortly after arriving home and discovered I had been baptized in St. Agatha’s parish. I could not believe it! “You have got to be kidding me, Lord,” was all that I could say over and over.
You see, there had been a time in my life – a far too substantial period of my life – when I stopped practicing my Faith. When our ever loving Lord in His infinite mercy led my wife and I back into His loving arms and His Church, he brought us to St. Agatha’s parish – not the one I was baptized in but another parish with the same patron saint, hundreds of miles from the baptismal fount in which I was bathed in the waters of new life.
Why hadn’t I made this connection well before last year? Would I have ever left St. Agatha’s for the wonderful parish I now attend had I recalled this extraordinary connection between the parish of my baptism, the parish where God welcomed me home, and the patron saint they both share?
I am not sure. I am still pondering that question.
But this I know: God and Agatha, the courageous, faithful child virgin and martyr, whose feast day prompted this post, have much more to tell me. May I have ears to hear and the will to obey!