During these beautiful days of the Easter octave, we continue to celebrate Our Divine Lord’s resurrection from the tomb. The opening prayer of the Mass yesterday indicated the Church’s interest in those who have come into the Church this Easter either through baptism or through profession of faith in Catholicism.
As I thought about the sacrament of baptism, I marveled at how much is accomplished by the infinite power of God who uses such little, modest instruments to do what He wants done. Take baptism, for example. We become Christians by means of a sacrament which involved about two spoonfuls of water and a baptismal formula that is exactly nineteen words long in English, and only twelve in Latin, the language used to baptize those of my age. On Easter Monday many years ago, I was ordained to the priesthood. What was involved in the conferring of that marvelous power? The bishop laid his hands upon my head and chanted a prayer. That was it. We find the same thing in the life of Our Lord himself. He raised a little girl from the dead by taking her young corpse by the hand and saying, “Little girl, get up.” He restored sight to a blind man by mixing a bit of his saliva with some dirt, spread it on the blind man’s eyes, and told him to go wash it off. He fed great crowds with five small loaves of bread and two fish. At the Last Supper, he took a piece of bread, blessed it, broke it, and said to his apostles: take this and eat it; this is my body. And then: do this in memory of me. Can you imagine how many times the Holy Eucharist has been given to the faithful since that simple gesture nearly two thousand years ago? How many have been baptized? How many priests, deacons, and bishops ordained? Very small, simple things and actions and words. But when God is involved, they take on infinite value and power.
And when you think of it, we ourselves are very small things in the great scheme of creation and salvation history. And yet, each of us is made in the image and likeness of God, and Our Lord would gladly have died for the salvation of any ONE of us. Saint Teresa of Avila is quoted as having once said, about money: one peseta (a Spanish unit of money at that time) can provide very little of what we need to live. But with one peseta and Jesus, we are immensely wealthy! Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown., O.P.
Note: Father Brown composed this message some years ago. Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.