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A Baptismal Letter to My Son

Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest

First Reading: Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.
Job spoke out and said:

Perish the day on which I was born,
the night when they said, “The child is a boy!”

Why did I not perish at birth,
come forth from the womb and expire?
Or why was I not buried away like an untimely birth,
like babes that have never seen the light?
Wherefore did the knees receive me?
or why did I suck at the breasts?

For then I should have lain down and been tranquil;
had I slept, I should then have been at rest
With kings and counselors of the earth
who built where now there are ruins
Or with princes who had gold
and filled their houses with silver.

There the wicked cease from troubling,
there the weary are at rest.

Why is light given to the toilers,
and life to the bitter in spirit?
They wait for death and it comes not;
they search for it rather than for hidden treasures,
Rejoice in it exultingly,
and are glad when they reach the grave:
Those whose path is hidden from them,
and whom God has hemmed in!

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8

R. (3) Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
O LORD, my God, by day I cry out;
at night I clamor in your presence.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my call for help.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
For my soul is surfeited with troubles
and my life draws near to the nether world.
I am numbered with those who go down into the pit;
I am a man without strength.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
My couch is among the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom you remember no longer
and who are cut off from your care.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit,
into the dark abyss.
Upon me your wrath lies heavy,
and with all your billows you overwhelm me.
R. Let my prayer come before you, Lord.

Gospel: Luke 9:51-56

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.

NAB

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Today is my oldest son’s baptism anniversary. If he would listen, this is what I would say to him. (Turns out, it’s exactly what I need to hear, too.)

Your life is not going to be easy, dear one. I’m sorry, but this is the truth.

There will be days when you despair like Job: Why was I born? What is the point? Why does everyone have it better than me?

There will be moments when you lament like the Psalmist: Where are You, God? Why have You forgotten me? Why did You let this happen?

There will be times when you want to lash out in anger like the disciples. Why won’t people listen to me? Why won’t they do what I want? Why is everything so hard?

But God will always offer you a quieter, wiser way—if you open your ears to hear and your heart to listen.

The life of faith is a journey. Yours will wind from home to school to work to wherever God leads. Plans and people lie ahead of you that you cannot imagine now. The only certain truth is that the journey will twist and turn where you least expect.

But by the gifts of birth and baptism, God has promised you goodness. God has plans for you, and they are full of hope.

By birth you have been created and called into a world that needs your gifts. By baptism you have been claimed for Christ and transformed into His follower.

So if you are refused, remember that Christ was rejected, too. If you are distressed, remember that He was determined despite every obstacle he faced.

Set your face like His, committed to follow where God will lead you—even all the way to the cross. Follow where God calls, and you will never be left alone.

This is the promise of your baptism. This is God’s gift for every one of us. This is the way love transforms life.

[bctt tweet=”By the gifts of birth and baptism, God has promised you goodness. // @laurakfanucci” username=”blessedisshe__”]

Give thanks for the gift of your baptism today. Let your prayer come before God like the Psalmist. Ask for the strength to follow where Christ leads and to journey where the Spirit calls.

photo credit

Laura Kelly Fanucci is a mother, writer, and theological researcher. She and her husband are raising three little boys in the suburban wilds of Minnesota. You can find out more about her here.

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