It has been a tough week. Without going into too much detail, work sucks. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, it's just that I really don't like where I am doing it. I have grown weary of being held responsible for performance, having said performance torpedoed from the outside, and being threatened for it. Makes it hard to get inspired, but I digress... The point of this post is to relate the story of the most moving experience I have ever had in church, anywhere, anytime.
Our first daughter was born 28 days premature. Out pastor at the time, Msgr. Showfety, called on us at the hospital, and baptized the baby right then and there, at age 30 hours. Having assured us, in his warm bedside manner that premature babies are prone to dying at any moment, so she should be baptized immediately. She didn't die, thank God, but I was happy to have him baptize her nonetheless.
Our second daughter was also born 28 days premature, but Msgr. was retired by then, so we called our new priest, Father Duc, and told him the story. We made arrangements to stop by his office for the baptism on our way home from the hospital. When we got there, we spoke for a few minutes, and he said, "Come with me, please". He then led us through he rectory, through the sacristy, and into the empty church. The sun shone through the stained glass, filling the church with a glorious light. It was so silent. The candles, flickering gently, seemed to fill the space with their own, complimentary light. All this mixed with the knowledge, and the feeling, that Jesus was there, physically there, in the tabernacle just a few feet away, watching. It wasn't just the tabernacle, either. He was there, I could feel Him. Looking. I swear if I had looked up and He had been standing there in person, I would not have been shocked. In fact, I remember feeling a bit odd that I couldn't see Him. A feeling at once frightening and overwhelmingly joyous.
Rather than the simple water and oil fill in the rest later we had the first time, Father proceeded to perform the whole ceremony right then and there, right up on the altar. The beauty and force and strength of the words, spoken with just the four of us there, undistracted and undiluted by the usual christening hubbub, was overwhelming. And then, as we finished, looking down at Katherine and knowing what had just happened, and what she had just become - a saint. The essence of simple beauty. The essence of life. And of life everlasting.