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The Baptism of the Lord, C

mother new-born canstockI heard a sad but very inspiring story which I will share here with you. A woman pregnant with her first child became very sick during the fourth month of her pregnancy. Her condition was very serious and the doctor soon realised that she did not have a chance of remaining alive herself unless he prescribed some medication that could have negative effects on the child. He made this clear and told the women that she needed to decide very soon as it was a matter or urgency It was also obvious that at this stage the foetus would not live on its own. After much soul searching on the part of the mother-to-be and her husband, it was decided that the treatment should be administered. The woman survived and the pregnancy came to its full nine months when the woman gave birth to a baby boy. She was overjoyed.

When she was given her new-born, she held it close to her heart and kept repeating: « My previous little one, my beautiful child, my treasure! » She was beaming with joy completely oblivious to he serious face of the nurse who had given her the baby to hold. She had noticed how the baby was born with a hare-lip and later she was heard telling another nurse that the child’s face was ‘crooked’, as she said it. But the following days saw the mother remaining with the same admiring gaze on her little treasure and she would whisper to him: « My precious one, my beloved. »

JesusBaptismYou may be surprised to read that this story came back to my mind as I reflected on the readings of this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. In the gospel (Luke 3:15-16,21-22), the Father used the same language about his Son whom he called « the Beloved ». Of course, Jesus had no blemish or defect of any kind. No, the story made me think of… ourselves and how the Father looked on us at our baptism! We were – we are – truly his beloved ones, we are precious in his sight and he loves us more than any human mother can cherish her new-born. He is not blind to our faults and defects, our sins ans miseries of all kinds. But none of these can prevent him from loving us. At times, we make serious efforts to ‘beautify’ ourselves in his sight, and surely our efforts must be pleasing to him as they express our desire to become more as he wants us to be. But, above all, it is not so much what we do that can make us more pleasing to him but what we allow him to do in us!

A medieval mystic, Margery Kemp, said that, in a visitation, the Lord told her: « More than your prayers, your devotions, your fasts, and all that you for me, what is most pleasing to me is that you believe that I love you. »

This may be the meaning of today’s feast: to allow the Lord to take delight in us as his beloved children and to believe that we are indeed precious to him!

Source: Pics:  Can Stock Photo    www.photobucket.com



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