Week of January 12, Baptism of the Lord
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK
I don’t remember my baptism. I was only a baby, just a few months old. My godparents stood in my stead, promising I would be raised in the Catholic faith.
My godmother took her role quite seriously – both because she was my aunt (my dad’s older sister) and because my mother was not Catholic. My godmother made sure I learned my prayers and knew my catechism lessons. She did her best to pass on the faith to me. She understood that God “has no grandchildren.” As a faith community, we are responsible to pass on our faith to others, enabling others to grow spiritually and to develop a faith and prayer life of one’s own. My godmother gave me the tools to become a believer in my own right, able to take my place in the worshipping community.
The commitment and covenant made at baptism is a source of joy and celebration for the faith community. Baptism is the beginning of our life in Christ, our new birth in the Holy Spirit.
Even though I don’t remember my baptism, I have come to understand its significance in my life, through my extended family, my Church family and my monastic community. People often commemorate the anniversary of their baptism, as one of those life markers, along with birthdays and anniversaries of weddings, professions and other rites of passage. The date of baptism marks the beginning of my own salvation history and my journey to everlasting life.
As we commemorate Jesus’ baptism, I will take some time to reflect on my own baptism, my progress in the spiritual life, my commitment to my baptismal promises. Maybe I will reflect on my spiritual family tree – those who have nurtured my faith, those whose faith I have helped nurture.
“May almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has given us new birth
by water and the Holy Spirit, and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins,
keep us by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord, for eternal life. Amen.” (Renewal of Baptismal Promises)
Sister Christine Ereiser is a Benedictine Sister of St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK,
where she has been a member for 35 years. She recently completed 12 years
as prioress and is now on sabbatical.