he is my light
so Baby Ro was baptized last weekend. baptism in the catholic church is, to me, one of the most beautiful ceremonies they offer. That and Ash Wednesday always get me.
On Ash Wednesday, they tell you, "Remember, woman, you are dust and to dust you shall return." and they make the sign of the cross in ashes on your forehead. Lent is as much as about the finitude and suffering of life as it is about the promise of everlasting life. That's something a lot of people today could stand to do some meditating on, especially that evil asshole who almost ran me off the road (see last post). Catholicism is full of depressing imagery like that, and in childhood, those reminders of mortality provided me with a level of self-awareness that came to my aid in plenty of moral-ambiguous situations.
But my other fave, baptism, is a hopeful ceremony. there is a line in which the priest tells the baby, "May you always walk as a Child of the Light." Doesn't sound like much to you maybe, but it encompasses everything I want most for my child. That as he walks through this world, he will always know that he has been chosen to reflect the light of his creator, and amplify it in every day life. Through the challenges of life that often call upon the darkest parts of the soul, he has a compass built in to find his way out. He has been claimed by an ancient belief system that has provided strength, direction and hope to generations of people for ages.
This is a beautiful thing to me.
Now, if you made it this far, you might be reading me as a zealot of some kind. I suppose I could say that I'm not, and I'm well-aware and highly critical of the church's own sins and failures. I'm a reasonably educated third wave feminist; I know all the reasons I should reject my religion.
so why do I persist as a Catholic? As I renewed my own baptism vows this weekend, I remembered why. Ultimately, it's simply because I believe. And in my life, that belief has always been a comfort to me, a unique and precious gift I never asked for, but got anyway. That belief helped me set a spiritual bar for myself at an early age. One that I've all too often fell short of, but nonetheless kept trying for. I suppose I can still respect my religion because I feel lucky to I have one. I feel lucky that I was given something to believe in, and consequently something to rebel against. I feel lucky that I was given the comfort of faith.
And this is my gift to Roman. May you always walk as a child of the light, my dear dear boy. and maybe i can learn that from you.