Pulled into the Mystery

BlSacrament-fcp-chpThe gift of baptism stamps our life. We aren’t the same before and after. The door is opened to a new and unimaginably wondrous life. We become children of God, apostles, members of the Mystical Body of Christ. These are clichés we hear so often, but they are clichés that nonetheless change everything.

Our religious family, the Legion of Christ, has traditionally celebrated our baptismal day rather than our birthday, our birth into the Mystical Body of Christ rather than our birth into the world. (Both are undeniably special, and without fail, from top to bottom, we always find a way to sneak in the birthday cake too.) The whole community remembers the “ecclesial birthday boy” in their prayers in a special way that day, and the birthday boy himself dedicates an extra hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament to meditate on and thank God for the great gift of baptism, through which all the other graces he receives flow: confession, the Eucharist, and the other sacrament; his vocation to the religious and priestly life; etc. Imagine life without this gift.

Last month I celebrated my own baptismal anniversary. Being my first in Rome, I made the special request to take the train into the city and pray my extra hour of adoration at St Peter’s Basilica, in the heart of the Church. Tucked away in a side chapel and veiled off from the chatter and photographs of the thousands of tourists passing through the basilica, the Blessed Sacrament chapel is a silent, yet magnificent haven of God’s Sacramental presence in the basilica. It is my favorite spot in Rome so far. There I knelt as the time imperceptibly hummed by, thanking God for the gift of being his son and asking for the grace to be faithful to this gift. The glorious tabernacle designed by Bernini loomed above in glorious golden splendor with its massive cherubim flanking the dwelling of the King of Kings. I looked at the altar and thought of the Mass. On that altar, Christ gives himself totally to the Father. The Mass isn’t just one moment in Christ’s life relived, so to speak. If you will, it is his whole self-giving to the Father, the Incarnation, life, miracles, Transfiguration, Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ, all present in one glorious act of self-giving to the Father. The Mass is so much more than we could ever dream of! But what is more, Christ wants me to be a part of it.

Because of my baptism, I don’t go to Mass like a spectator at the theater. It’s more. It’s even more than if I were physically present on Calvary. Why? Because by baptism, I become part of his Mystical Body. I am joined to Christ and so he pulls me into the Mass. We offer ourselves with Christ in his total gift of self to the Father. That is incomprehensible. We are pulled into the Mystery.

Thank God for the gift of baptism that is so much more than a social initiation. The door of the sacraments is opened, we become sons and daughters of God and members of his Church. We receive our call to be his apostles to the world. Remember this next time you go to a baptism, but more importantly, remember it this week when you go to Mass, for through your baptism, Christ has pulled you into the Mystery!

About Br Dain Scherber LC

Br Dain Scherber LC is a religious seminarian of the Legionaries of Christ. Born and raised on a dairy farm in central Minnesota, he attended the Legion’s high-school seminary in New Hampshire at the age of 13. He did his first two years of seminary in Dublin, Ireland before being transferred to Connecticut, where he continued his studies in the classical humanities for two years and worked as an assistant on the formation team for four years. He is currently studying philosophy at the Legion’s Center for Higher Studies in Rome.
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