Joseph Martos
An experience with ritual
by Dr. Joe Martos - Tuesday, 24 November 2009, 12:52 AM

Reflections by Lynne Worthington (with her permission):

On Saturday evening we celebrated the baptism of a young child during the Mass.  As usual, this ceremony affected me on many levels.  As a catechist, of course, I am always aware of the sense of historical continuity generated by the ritual actions and words:  the waters of creation and the waters of our baptism font have, in essence, the same quality of bringing forth life; the “burial” in the water and “rising” to new life in Christ recalls the central event in our Christian religious story (myth); the promises made by parents, godparents and the congregation indicate our connectedness to one another and our mutual support and encouragement; the light of the candle, the anointing with oil, the sign of the cross – all indicate the transition of this little one’s life from being an important person in her immediate family to becoming a valuable and sacred part of our worshiping community.  But above and beyond all of this, baptisms always recall for me my own baptism which took place in a little Baptist church in North Georgia many years ago and the awesome sense I had as a young child of really being in the presence of God in that ritual.  Tears almost always come to my eyes as I am transported in time back to the moment of awareness, of feeling unconditionally loved and gifted.  I was struck in the readings by what Monika Hellwig said about what happens in liturgy is not “remembering” but “not forgetting.”