By Selina Venier
FORGET four weddings and a funeral, our adventure was a baptism and a wedding on the same day.
It might sound “un-doable” but in fact, it was quite the opposite.
The baptism was celebrated early and had all the glorious trimmings of lived faith: committed and vocal parents and godparents, siblings obviously connected to ritual and prayer, a celebrant who espoused the Gospel so commandingly, and of course, the bonny baby, nestled and safe in her mother’s arms, an analogy of the loving embrace of the Church.
After the ceremony I had sore cheeks from smiling so much.
There was so much evident joy.
I love witnessing the connections of baptism, between God and His child, flowing from and into the family and so forth.
Oh, and give me an adult baptism any day because they are truly Divine.
We’ve had the opportunity to witness many an adult baptism of late, at Easter Vigils from Brisbane city to each country or coastal corner of the diocese and beyond.
I hope you were able to be part of or hear about those blessed connections.
They are lifelong and without blemish and as such, baptism is perfection in of itself.
While the baptism rite may come to a conclusion, its memory and promises remain, other inherent and unmistakeable blessings.
Meeting with sacramental families to prepare for other Sacraments of Initiation, many a conversation about baptism evolves.
“What’s the meaning of the holy water, the sacred oil, the white garment, the promises made …” and so on.
“What happened when the holy water was poured over your head?” sacramental children enjoy investigating and answering.
“I smiled” or “I slept” or “I cried” we often hear as responses.
There’s such joy in those conversations and sharings.
How could there not be?
God is present and in baptism, in all its connections and blessedness, there’s also joy, true joy.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we remember during each Mass and particularly at Easter, gives us such permission to keep smiling, to continue witnessing and living our Easter joy.
I was sharing with a priest recently about whispers of negativity heard after the Triduum.
His response was classic and ties in.
He said he felt like saying, “The complaint’s department is closed for the season of Paschal joy.”
How appropriate, I thought.
Our Paschal joy can be so easily destroyed, it’s important to keep it afresh in our minds and just as alive as Jesus Christ Himself.
Feeling ever-so joyful we headed, post-baptism, to the above-mentioned wedding.
It was to be in a garden.
You might be able to fill in the rest.
In stark contrast to our faith-filled morning, there was no mention of God during the afternoon’s ceremony.
Yes there were smiles and connections and of course, joy.
It was sincere joyfulness and perhaps to those involved, it was and is enough.
We felt and know differently.
There’s nothing more to say about that particular afternoon.
Beyond it however, a marriage without God isn’t a marriage I’d want to be in.
The same is true for any trip we take or decision we make or any day I open my eyes and walk around on this earth.
Without God in the detail and at the helm, the “insert whatever it is” isn’t worth doing or taking or being.
I write that because I know all too well just how much we need God as individuals, as a couple, as a family, a community and so on.
I write that because I know God hears and answers prayers.
I believe that once you have such certainty, there’s no going back, there’s no doubt.
Last Sunday we heard the Gospel account of Thomas, witnessing the holes in the hands and feet of Jesus, of his doubt becoming non-existent.
“Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe,” Jesus remarked in St John’s Gospel.
And what glorious words those are.
As Easter people we are beyond joy.
We can eagerly anticipate what the Lord God wants to do in our lives and how He meets us in the detail of each and every daily adventure.
Selina Venier is a journalist, children’s book author and the sacramental co-ordinator of Annerley Ekibin parish in Brisbane archdiocese.