Today is the feast day of my very favorite saint, Benedict’s twin sister, Scholastica. Although she didn’t leave behind any great writings, and (like most women of her day) had very little on record about her life, Pope St. Gregory the Great records one memorable scene from her life in his Dialogues, Chapter 33, that reveals the spirit of this strong yet gentle and prayerful woman. I love her because she reminds me of the power of desperate prayer: When trying to move someone’s heart, prayer can be more persuasive than argument!
In the windows of heaven, the saints shine like stained glass, radiating the light of God to the world below. No two bits of glass — and no two saints — are alike. Together, the “communion of saints” (those following Jesus on earth, those journeying through Purgatory, and those who are already seeing God in heaven) are a mighty force of intercessory light in our cold, dark world. So this week is dedicated to learning about prayer, and especially the most important prayer, the Rosary. We will also be looking at the Sacrament of Baptism, and exploring how we join the family of God through this ancient rite.
Our children were baptized on May 31, 2005. We waited three long years to do it, and the waiting had not been easy. Especially in the first few months, I was tempted more than once to toss them both in the baptismal font in sheer frustration.
It was ironic that it was while we were in church that I felt the need for grace most strongly the first weeks we had the kids.
Baptizing them right away wasn’t an option; as their foster parents, we couldn’t even get their hair cut without the permission of a social worker.
So each week I’d trot them up for a blessing when I went forward to receive communion, and afterwards I’d trace the sign of the cross on their foreheads with holy water as I entrusted them to God to keep them safe for another week, until they could celebrate their “birthday in the Church.”
Three years later, we stood around the baptismal font as first Christopher then Sarah received the sacrament. “Hurray! Today my sister and I have a new name!” And they did it again, a few weeks later, when their older sister was adopted by another couple. “Yeah! Our sister has a new name!”
“Yes,” the priest had the presence of mind to respond. “She now has the name Christian!”