Our covenant through Baptism Print
Living and Learning
Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 -- 1:00 AM

Living and Learning column by Msgr. Daniel T. Ganshert

Thankfulness for many blessings over this past year already fills the minds and hearts of my family and, I imagine, yours, as well. In particular, thanking God for my cousins' now one-year-old quadruplets. Yes, that's right. We are all still amazed at this spontaneous gift from God to Michael, Angela, and little Delaney. Now they are seven. Like some other great stories it happened once upon a night.

Nine o'clock and the phone rings. On the other end of the line my cousin says they are on the way. What did you say? The quadruplets. By the time I got to the hospital, Liam was born at 9:24, Riley, his sister, at 9:25 with her brother Maxwell, followed at 9:26 by Finian.

Before long mother and dad asked that the newborns be baptized. At 12:15 a.m. we entered the neonatal intensive care unit, and, with their parents' hands holding on to each approximately one pound 11 ounce child, the waters of new life in Christ and the Holy Spirit freed them from original sin and incorporated them into the Church, the Body of Christ. As fragile as it was, each life was now oriented for eternity, and their parents' joy was evident.

Remembering the anniversary of these children's birth and baptism date will be a little easier. How about us? The date we were baptized is something to celebrate and keep in mind each year as we give thanks for God's blessings. On that date we were enfolded with unconditional love. On that date we were invited to always seek the limitless mercy of the one who made us. On that date we received an unbreakable commitment that he would be with us always. What more could we ever want or need?

Through Baptism all this is ours, the promise of God's love, mercy, and covenant pressed down and overflowing in our lives. That's just it. God intends it to overflow from our lives. You and I are sent through our Baptism to love one another unconditionally. You and I are sent to always forgive one another, no matter what. You and I are sent to keep our commitment to stay close to the Lord by attending Mass, receiving the sacraments regularly, praying daily, and by acts of charity.

Thanking by doing. God will help us accomplish what our Baptism has called us to do and what it has called us to be as his people.

Four one year olds have completed their first year and are doing fine. This is cause for thanksgiving. May all of us, no matter the age, give thanks for this past year of grace and all that God has accomplished in us and through us since we were first born new in the waters of Baptism.

Msgr. Daniel Ganshert is the vicar general for the Diocese of Madison.