A dear friend of mine, a bishop, once gave me the best picture of what happens to us at Baptism. I would like to explain it to you. As is usually the case, trying to get the message across when you received it from an expert, isn’t easy. Try to picture the Holy Trinity like the three arrows here. Each arrow represents the life and love of the individual persons, but if you remove any one of the arrows the trinity disappears. So the life of all three persons give to and receive from the others.
Now what happens at our Baptism is this. We are caught up in the life of the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus. But we cannot just be in the life of Jesus, because He is part of the life of the Trinity! So we, too, become part of the divine life of the blessed Trinity.
What does this mean for us. At our Baptism, the life of the triune God became our life too. It is up to us to keep this life alive and thriving. How do we do this? Well, our brother Jesus, gives us the best example, as usual. He came to John the Baptist, completely free of sin, and ASKED to be baptized like the sinners coming to John. How many times do we put ourselves outside the sinners placed before us? Exploring the old phrase, “There but for the grace of God, go I,” we may find the answer.
Therese the Little Flower had it right. When told she would have a very high place in Heaven, she said she would be as happy as she could be there. But if she had a thimble to fill with happiness, and you had a bucket, both of which were filled to the brim, who had more happiness? Each was as full os happiness as was possible given the size of their vessel. All the gifts we have had go to expand the size of our thimble. But if we keep only the amount that was there when we started, we are poor servants of the good God. We might have a ten gallon container with only a thimbleful of good works.
To work at reaching the place God has for us, we must labor every minute, every second of our lives. The day we sit back and say, “OK, I have done everything I can,” we poke a hole in our bucket, or thimble.
The big thing to remember is that this labor does not have to be heavy on our souls. Jesus is there, and picks up where our weakness slips. But we must be willing to admit the weakness and accept the help He gives.
That is why Jesus was baptized. That is why the Father calls him, “My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” That is what the Father will say of us if we follow Jesus lead, and listen to the Spirit, the whole Trinity, whose life we share.
Move on, and grow in God’s life,
Oldenburg Franciscan Center
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg