Do You Know Your Baptism Birthday?

Recently, we celebrated our little guy’s first baptism “birthday.”  We broke out the candle he received on the day of his baptism, had a special breakfast, and read a blessing from our book of Household Blessings and Prayers (Thanks, Lisa!).

Baptism

Nothing major, just a little way to set the day apart as special.

“To know the date of our Baptism is to know a blessed day. The danger of not knowing is that we can lose awareness of what the Lord has done in us, the memory of the gift we have received. Thus, we end up considering it only as an event that took place in the past – and not by our own will but by that of our parents – and that it has no impact on the present. We must reawaken the memory of our Baptism.”

-Pope Francis

We were so blessed to be able to have Tyler Jr. baptized just 11 days after he was born. Personally, ever since I heard that as a newborn, Joseph Ratzinger (i.e. the future Pope Benedict XVI) was taken from the hospital to be baptized on his birthday, I’ve been a little jealous that nowadays it has become more and more common within the Church to wait so long before baptizing babies.

Of course there are practical reasons for this delay.  It’s certainly in the best interest of the child for parishes to make sure as best they can that parents and godparents are properly catechized on what Baptism means, as well as to inform the parents and godparents of the responsibilities they have to make sure the child is brought up according to the faith.  These things take time, and ultimately it’s up to the discretion of the parents and their Pastor to see to it that baptism is performed in as timely a manner as possible.  For some this can be accomplished within days of the birth, for others it may take more time.  Personally, I think God understands so long as we are doing our best.

Often we Catholics are given a hard time for taking the “choice” of baptism away from our children by having them baptized as infants.  And if baptism was merely a nice gesture of proclamation of one’s personal decision to follow Christ, I would better understand this—but our Christian faith teaches that baptism is more than this.  Baptism is the moment that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within a person.  It’s the actual washing away of the stain of original sin that each of us is born with.  Baptism is—literally— the birth of the Christian

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)

As both a symbol of one’s proclamation of faith as well as the actual supernatural gift of faith, baptism is of course not something that should be taken lightly.  It shouldn’t be sought simply out of custom or tradition—it should be eagerly desired because it is the necessary beginning of the Christian’s walk with Christ.  What greater gift can Christian parents give their children than Christ Himself?

Do you know the date of your baptism birthday?  Put it on the calendar and make a practice of celebrating it!

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Gentleness

Lately I have been feeling the Lord place on my heart a call to gentleness.

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“The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24-25, RSV)

I’m reminded of this calling every now and again when I receive a somewhat disagreeable comment on a past blog post.

Praise God for making me just busy enough that I usually cannot reply to comments in the moment or moments immediately after first reading them.  Admittedly (and maybe not so surprisingly), my initial reaction to argumentative comments is to be argumentative right back—seeking to craft the wittiest response that explains oh so clearly and succinctly why I’m in the right.  These responses may not be outright rude, but they certainly fall short of aspiring to the kind of gentleness that the Holy Spirit, writing through Paul in his letter to Timothy, calls me to in the above verse.

Thankfully when it comes to crafting a response, I usually have the time to take a deep breath, examine my motives, and finally ask God, “What would you have me say in reply to this?” (<— that should be my FIRST thought!)

What I have learned is that God more often than not calls me to be even gentler than my first, sometimes even second or third, “draft” of gentleness.  I’m discovering that God really wants gentleness and charity to be what guide my discussions with others—especially when those discussions are about Him.

It’s not about proving that I am in the right; it’s about leading others to Christ because I want them to understand and share in the love that He has given me for Him and His Church.  This doesn’t mean that I can’t defend my God or His Church or even myself when attacked; it just means I have to check myself to assure that my responses are motivated from love and not from pride.

It’s a work in progress :)

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October 15th – Two Reasons To Celebrate

Today is our sweet baby boy’s FIRST BIRTHDAY!

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He brings us so much joy! Praising God for 365 days of adventures, giggles, and snuggles with our Tyler Jr. 

(Also on the subject of Pearson babies, we recently found out that Tyler Jr. will be getting a baby SISTER come February <3)

Another Reason to Celebrate Today…

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Another fantastic reason to celebrate October 15th is because it’s Saint Teresa of Avila’s feast day!

When I found out my first baby was due in October, I quickly learned there were plenty of great days on the Catholic calendar on which to have a birthday, but I was especially excited when Baby Tyler was born on the memorial of Saint Teresa.  Mystic, Doctor of the Church, and Carmelite nun, she has been a favorite saint of mine since I was a teenager.

I encourage you to learn a little bit about her today, but especially to ask her to pray for you.

“This Beloved of ours is merciful and good. Besides, he so deeply longs for our love that he keeps calling us to come closer. This voice of his is so sweet that the poor soul falls apart in the face of her own inability to instantly do whatever he asks of her. And so you can see, hearing him hurts much more than not being able to hear him… For now, his voice reaches us through words spoken by good people, through listening to spiritual talks, and reading sacred literature. God calls to us in countless little ways all the time. Through illnesses and suffering and through sorrow he calls to us. Through a truth glimpsed fleetingly in a state of prayer he calls to us. No matter how halfhearted such insights may be, God rejoices whenever we learn what he is trying to teach us.” 

-Saint Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle

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What’s Going On In Rome This Weekend?  – What You Need To Know About The Synod on The Family!

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Just over a year ago, Pope Francis announced that there would be an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops this year!

That synod, which the Pope has called on to discuss “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization,” begins this Sunday, October 5th (Saint Faustina’s Feast Day!), and is set to go until October 19th.

There has been a lot of speculation in the media on what will supposedly take place during the synod, which makes it a little hard to sift through the rumors and just understand the basics of what the synod is actually for.  Thankfully, the US Bishop’s website has a great, straightforward Q&A I highly encourage you to check out (clicking this link will take you there!). 

Additionally, incase you missed it back in February, Pope Francis wrote a letter to all families (that’s all of us!) specifically about the synod, and urging us to pray.  Here is a brief excerpt:

…This important meeting will involve all the People of God – bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful of the particular Churches of the entire world – all of whom are actively participating in preparations for the meeting through practical suggestions and the crucial support of prayer. Such support on your part, dear families, is especially significant and more necessary than ever. This Synodal Assembly is dedicated in a special way to you, to your vocation and mission in the Church and in society; to the challenges of marriage, of family life, of the education of children; and the role of the family in the life of the Church. I ask you, therefore, to pray intensely to the Holy Spirit, so that the Spirit may illumine the Synodal Fathers and guide them in their important task. As you know, this Extraordinary Synodal Assembly will be followed a year later by the Ordinary Assembly, which will also have the family as its theme. In that context, there will also be the World Meeting of Families due to take place in Philadelphia in September 2015. May we all, then, pray together so that through these events the Church will undertake a true journey of discernment and adopt the necessary pastoral means to help families face their present challenges with the light and strength that comes from the Gospel.

It should go without saying that the most important thing we can do over these next two weeks is to pray!  Take time daily—ideally as a family— to ask the Holy Spirit to lead the synod.

If you’re interested in studying a little bit more about the synod, I encourage you to avoid the speculation and hoopla in the media/blogosphere, and stick to the official documents released from the Church:

What documents have been released in advance of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops?

Preparatory Document

November 2013: The Preparatory Document outlined the purpose of both the Extraordinary and Ordinary General Assemblies, provided a basic catechesis on the Gospel of the Family, and requested input from the world’s bishops on nine questions about the current state of pastoral care for marriages and families.

Instrumentum Laboris

June 2014: The Instrumentum Laboriscontained the results of the consultation achieved via the Preparatory Document‘s questionnaire. This document provides a substantive reflection on the major challenges facing the family today, and outlines the topics that will be discussed at the Extraordinary General Assembly. 

Additionally, the bishops suggest:

“Read the Catechism and the most recent teaching documents of the Magisterium on the subject of marriage and the family; an annotated list is available here. Spend time, alone and together as a married couple and family, reflecting on the rich teaching of the Church on marriage and family

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Prayer for The Synod of Bishops on the Family

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendor of true love,
to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.

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“What Has God Been Saying To You Lately?”

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I sincerely hope that you have someone like my grandpa in your life.

By that I mean that I hope you have at least one person in your life that will ask you casually over dinner at a local pizza place, “So Mary, what has God been saying to you lately?” 

I also sincerely hope that when that person asks you this question (as you’ve come to expect they will from time to time), that your reaction is less like the, “I, er, well, um…” that mine more often than not seems to be; but is more like how you would answer if someone asked you what you and your best friend have been up to as of late.

Because people like my grandpa are constant reminders to me that the two questions shouldn’t really be all that different.  Praying to God should be a conversation with God.  And when someone asks what God has been saying to me, it shouldn’t feel like a trick question.

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My grandpa leading the blessing at my wedding reception almost two years ago :)

What I think I like most about being asked this question is that it reminds me that my prayer life—my relationship with God—doesn’t have to be this supremely personal, almost hidden or secretive thing kept just between me and God.  Sometimes it’s easy for me to think that way.

It’s not that I want to hide from others the fact that I have a relationship with God.  Rather, it’s that I’d like to hide from others all those things that God—my Creator and my Savior—knows about me.

When I’m asked this question it reminds me of my tendency to picture God as my “divine secret-keeper,” as the One Who Knows All The Bad Stuff. How easy it is for me to forget that He cares and wants to talk to me about the good stuff, too!  And not even just the big, life-altering stuff, but the day-to-day stuff, too—much like a close friend would.

Maybe you can relate.  What is your reaction when someone asks, “What has God been saying to you lately?”

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