Thursday, August 2, 2012

If you've been baptized, thank the Church... and other thoughts regarding my recent trip to France.

My column this week at Patheos is about the roots of faith, especially how I experience them in my own life. God loves us. Baptism confirms that love. Someone cared enough to have us baptized. And some of us have a legacy of faith that stretches back generations.

Here's an excerpt:

Jesus specifically asked his followers to make disciples of all the nations, to baptize the people they met “in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” To this day, we members of the church share in his mission, to reveal God to the very hearts that were made to receive him. Two thousand years later, that practice continues. 
I can trace my faith in Christ to the graces first imparted at my baptism. 
If you were baptized, you have someone to thank for bringing you, or leading you, to the font of life. Coming from a heritage of both French and Irish Catholic Immigrants, I have a lot of people to thank, stretching back generations. Their faith and love live on in me. 
On a recent pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, my husband and I found it marvelous to worship and pray with the international throngs of Catholic faithful at the Grotto -- where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette, and where so many healings have taken place -- and in the shrine’s three basilicas. But Catholicism isn’t just a global faith, it is a personal faith -- the same faith that my parents offered to me when I was baptized over a half century ago, and the same faith that I have brought my children up in. 
Prior to the trip to Lourdes, I learned that my paternal grandmother’s home village was located in the south of France. Intrigued, my husband and I rented a car and explored the little town of Lembeye, where my immigrant grandmother began her life. 
As beautiful as Lourdes was, (in terms of the grandeur of being a world famous sacred destination) Lembeye was, on a personal level, just as beautiful to me. There, I entered into the Eglise de l’Assomption à Lembeye, the Church of the Assumption at Lembeye, an old 19th century church -- the only one in town – and likely the place where my grandmother was baptized and received her first sacraments. I could not be sure, since I do not have Nana’s baptismal certificate, but this little French church might very well have been the source of my faith origins. Today I continue to reap the benefits of the faith that has been handed on to me from earlier generations.
 Read the rest.

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