Earlier this month, during my family's yearly visit to Hawaii, we had my youngest son baptized at the Catholic church. It was the epitome of “low-key”. We didn't send out invitations or take group pictures. Koa wore jeans, the godmother wore flip-flops and a hoodie. His baptism was followed by a typical Sunday at the beach.
However, far from being perfunctory, Koa's baptism was an incredibly profound moment in our life as a family. The sacraments (baptism, marriage, anointing of the sick, etc) are defined in the Catholic church as times when we actively receive God's grace. I think these are also times when we experience “spiritual intimacy”; when we are drawn closer to each other by being closer to the Lord
I hardly remember my own baptism (I was 2), but as an adult I made the decision to get married in the Catholic church. Standing in front of the Church before God, our friends and family, we exchanged vows to love each other completely and “become one flesh”. We welcomed Jesus into our marriage.
Standing up next to the baptismal font, I took hold of my husband's hand and smiled. Here we were again, before God and our family, living our life as one flesh. We were committing ourselves to our son, being stewards of God's gifts to us. We now welcomed Jesus into our life as parents. I felt the same rush of love and grace that I felt standing on the alter with him 5 years prior.
I'm not trying to give Koa the golden ticket to Heaven. I'm not even guaranteeing that he will be Catholic as an adult. Through his baptism, my husband and I are welcoming Koa into our family, symbolically making him a part of the larger community of faith, and publicly acknowledging (along with my sisters and my husband's cousin) that it is our responsibility to teach him about God.
Just as my husband and I once stood in front of the Church and made these promises to each other, now we stand and make these promises to our children. Even though Koa's baptism was “low-key”, it was a rare moment in a busy, modern life. It was a moment of quiet spiritual intimacy, where we were drawn closer together as a family and closer to our Creator.