I’ve been thinking lately of all the people who are unbaptized. For some reason, it never occurred to me before that there are likely thousands – tens of thousands – of people who comprise the globe and are unbaptized. As a cradle Catholic, infant Baptism has always been a “given” both in my upbringing and in our daughters’ lives. I cannot imagine what life would be like without this Sacrament of Initiation, and yet so few people these days consider Baptism to be of utmost importance.
What planted concern in my heart was a conversation I had with our neighbor girl who is twelve years old – and unbaptized. She expressed interest in Baptism, but her parents are reticent to permit her to this step into responsible Christian living. I think it’s because she wants to be baptized as a Catholic.
Because we live in a neighborhood filled with Anabaptists of all sorts – Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, and Church of Christ – we pretty much stand out sorely as believers of infant Baptism. We are the remnant in a culture of Christianity that encourages adult Baptism. But I was thinking: What happens when adults become complacent and never get around to Baptism?
What happens when the thousands of people living ordinary lives just shuffle to the side this incredible offering of Divine Grace? I cannot fathom the spiritual implications, and yet they must be significant.
Ben and I used to teach the Baptism class at our parish when our girls were infants. We reviewed with couples the symbols used in Baptism, as well as the rites and rituals. It was refreshing for us to be reminded of the gift of consecration we all receive through this Sacrament. Moreover, I’ve come to understand and appreciate the protection from evil we obtain when we are baptized.
Sadly, it seems that many people baptize out of obligation, cultural customs, or due to persuasion from family members rather than a longing and thirst for the Living Water to cleanse us from original sin. We become the adopted sons and daughters of the Living God when we are baptized. It’s not just water and words. It’s The Word breathing new life, new birth into our souls. How can we then take this so lightly?
How has our world become complacent, apathetic and spiritually lazy? In my opinion, it is because so few people are baptized. Baptism plants the seed of Truth in our hearts. The seed sprouts in miraculous and unique ways through the spiritual gifts that God chooses for us to share with the world. Our hearts are set ablaze with zeal, a longing for Heaven and desire to please God with the special graces we receive in the seal of Baptism. Without this seemingly prosaic ritual, life is more difficult to navigate – at least the interior life is.
There’s no doubt in my mind that we must get back to the basics when it comes to Sacraments, beginning with Baptism. Both of my girls were baptized as infants, and I have observed incomprehensible, supernatural knowledge of Divine truth that they have both expressed. How can this be explained, except by the grace of their first Sacrament? How could Felicity have known at the age of 2 that Jesus was in the Tabernacle? How could Sarah have known who “Mama Mary” was in an icon image without me telling her?
It’s time for us to pray for all the unbaptized Christians and non-Christians, that they may be awakened to the beauty of this Sacrament and the protection they receive throughout life. We must pray, too, for those who have been baptized but have grown indifferent to the spiritual life, that their hearts may be renewed in fervor for love of God. And we must finally pray that the rest of us will remain steadfast to the Faith in times of difficulty and trials. Perhaps one day we may all truly be united as one body the way Jesus prayed: “That they may be one as we are one.”
Text Copyright 2015, Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.
Image Copyright 2015, “Baptism” by Rosangelaresende on Pixabay and edited in Canva by Jeannie Ewing.
My interview with Jeannie on A Seeking Heart:
Jeannie Ewing is a writer, speaker, and grief recovery coach. She is the co-author of Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers. Jeannie was featured on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and Tony Agnesi’s radio show Finding God’s Grace. She offers her insight from a counselor’s perspective into a variety of topics, including grief, spirituality, and parenting children with special needs. Jeannie resides in northern Indiana with her husband and two daughters, both of whom have special needs. For more information on her professional services, please visit her websites lovealonecreates.com or fromgrief2grace.com.
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