The Gift of Hope

The Gift of Hope January 29, 2017


We got so caught up in the flurry of politics yesterday, I forgot it was the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and my husband’s baptism anniversary.

Of course, no one at Michael’s baptism knew that it was the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Michael Christopher, who went by Chris back then, was baptized at a Lutheran church in a small town in Missouri. His mother was a Baptist, raised in a good Baptist home by a Baptist deacon. No drinking, no smoking, no swearing, no dancing, no infant Baptism. But the Lutheran church was the one in walking distance. She asked the pastor what they believed, and she said she could accept every Lutheran teaching except for infant baptism. The Pastor said this was enough. She took her sons to the Lutheran church every Sunday. Michael says one of his earliest clear Church memories was of sitting in a pew in the back of church, crayoning in a coloring book picture of Skeletor, while the pastor preached a sermon on the empty tomb.

Michael’s brother, Agnello Alfred, who went by Fred at the time, was five years older than Michael. He asked to be baptized when he was about ten. Mother believed that children should be baptized when they asked for it, so she made the arrangements.

She asked Michael if he would like to be baptized as well.

Michael felt that what he was being asked was very important, but that he didn’t quite understand what it meant. He knew it was a good thing, though, and he felt he ought to say yes, so he did.

The pastor baptized them both on the same day.

Michael doesn’t remember too many details of the ceremony, but he remembers being asked if he assented to the Apostle’s Creed.

He didn’t say “I do,” as expected.

Instead, he said, “I sure hope so.”

The pastor smiled, and baptized him in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

It was years later that Michael, Agnello and his mother were received into the Catholic Church. Mother said she still wasn’t convinced about infant baptism, but she’d found the Church to be right about everything else, so she agreed to take that on faith. She has the gift of hope.

None of us can really comprehend what it is we undertake, when we assent to that Creed, when we are baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. We don’t and can’t understand what we’ve gotten ourselves into. The One we profess is Love beyond all telling, Love the darkness can never comprehend, and Love never looks just the way you’d think.

You don’t know what will happen, when you profess what we believe.

You don’t know who you’ll become, when you go into that water, only that you’ll be a new creation.

You can’t know what will happen after that.

And we have Christ’s promise that where He is, we may also be.

To which, in the virtue of hope, we can respond, “I sure hope so.”

(image via Pixabay)

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