Especially when we recall to mind that God is present in every moment of our lives
By Deacon Bob Hunt
There are moments that inspire reflection on those matters of life that matter most. Sometimes these moments are of the unhappy variety, but there are happy moments, too. I had the joy recently of experiencing two such happy moments. The first was the baptism of my new granddaughter, Josephine Belle. On the day I was ordained last year, my oldest daughter and her husband announced to me that they were expecting their second child.
A priest who is a long and dear friend of our family baptized our first granddaughter, but this one would be mine! We set the date for April 29, a memorable date for me because it is the anniversary of my mother’s passing. I suppose I could chalk it up to divine providence that that became the date of Josie’s baptism, transforming what was once a sad date on the calendar for me into a joyous one.
What a joyous day it was! We met that morning at St. Rose of Lima Church in Murfreesboro. The family was there, of course, along with the godparents and some friends from St. Rose School, including two Dominican sisters. I led them through the various rites and prayers and a litany of family saints. Then, while my daughter held Josie over the font, I baptized her, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
I cried. I admit it, I cried. Josie looked up at her mother with those beautiful eyes and her mouth agape, wondering what was going on. How could she know? Do any of us really appreciate all that is happening at a child’s baptism? If we could lift the veil, we would see the saints and angels dancing! She is baptized in Christ, a new creation, with the life of the Trinity now within her and a new member of a body of believers the world over who share with her the gift of eternal life. Even now, Josie has the gift of eternal life.
Eternal life doesn’t begin after we die but when we are baptized. We are living the eternal life Christ promised those who believe and are baptized. There are no words that can describe how it feels to be the instrument of our Lord in giving the gift of eternal life to my own granddaughter through baptism. It does make me marvel even more at how glorious is the gift of baptism and how gracious is our Lord and Savior.
The second happy event was the graduation from high school of our youngest daughter, Felicity. How can it be that she is graduating from high school? It was only yesterday that I held her, only minutes after her birth, and after her punching the nurses who were trying to assess her and dry her off.
I remember so well the games we played when she was little, and the glee on her face when she first wore her Catholic school uniform. I remember the glowing smile when I gave her a Beatles album for her birthday and the excitement of every new BTS purchase. I remember how utterly overjoyed she was when her sister bought a new kitten for her. I remember her thrill when she got to play the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland at Sacred Heart Cathedral School, and then the lead for Peter and the Star-Chaser at Knoxville Catholic High School.
All these memories of my little girl who isn’t little anymore. I know it’s a cliché, but where does the time go? When her name was announced, and she walked across the stage to receive her diploma, we hooted and hollered, shouting her name. She will be moving away from home soon for university. I don’t want her to go. We spend our entire parenthood preparing our children to be independent, and then when they’re ready we don’t want them to go. But they must go. There is no greater source of pride for a parent than to see their children doing well. Felicity is doing well and will continue to do well.
How do we measure these moments? How do we weigh them on the scale of a lifetime? These are the moments that will stay with us, through the fog of life’s memory. St. Augustine said that memory is a sad privilege. He meant, of course, the memory of our sins.
But memory can be a happy privilege, too, when we recall those events that make meaningful the too-often mundane days and weeks and months of our years. But, really, nothing is mundane when we call to mind that God is present in every moment. There are moments, still, for which we are especially grateful, for which we cannot thank Him enough. Deo gratias!
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.
Deacon Bob Hunt is a husband, father, grandfather, and parishioner at All Saints Church in Knoxville.