Wednesday, April 11, 2007

God Bless You

There are so many rich traditions in the Catholic faith that may be incorporated to increase spirituality among family members. One of my favorites is the use of holy water. I have not always been Catholic and did not grow up with any knowledge of the sacramentals of the Church. I am so grateful for them, however, as sacramentals provide for simple avenues of prayer and grace.

The waters of baptism are powerful. If one believes baptism to be an act of obedience, then it only makes sense to meditate upon the meaning and importance of our own baptisms frequently. Baptism consecrates us to Christ and makes us part of the body of believers. Baptism also calls us to live as children of God, fulfilling his will and spreading light and truth. How easy it is to forget this!

Our family acknowledges our own baptisms, our call to Christ, each day. On the wall beside our front door is a small holy water font. We have a very busy family life and there are many comings and goings all day long among various children. I have found it to be significant to take a moment before a child leaves the house, to dip my finger in the holy water, mark their foreheads with a cross, and say, "God bless you." Among all the other instructions and admonishments I give them upon their departures, this five second ritual has brought much beauty and blessing to us.

This simple gesture is a reminder in our busy lives that we have a purpose beyond whatever fun or work is at hand; we have a mission in Christ. We are children of God seeking his direction and protection as we move out in the world. As I bless each child, whether they are off to soccer practice, Boy Scouts, babysitting, or roller-blading, I have a small moment to pray over them and to look them in the eye and tell them I love them. When we learn to see the use of gestures and symbols as forms of prayer, how much richer our spirituality becomes.

Peace, Hope