Legacy of Faith


Pope Francis, during a mass in celebration of the Baptism of Jesus, baptized 32 babies in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel last January. It caused a stir and was highlighted by the media because among them was 7-month old baby Giulia whose parents were “unmarried” in catholic rites.
Ivan Scardia and Nicoletta Franco, though married in a civil ceremony, had asked the Pope if he would baptize their second child at a General Audience in September 25, and he said yes. The Pope agreed because he believes that the children of parents in an irregular situation should not be made to feel like a second-class Christian. This move again reveals the Pope’s pastoral heart. Through this act, he would like to focus on the importance of passing on the faith to the future generation.
In his homily, he challenged the parents of the babies: “Today, carry this thought home with you. We must be transmitter of the faith.  Think of this, think always of how to hand on the faith to your children. These children are links in a chain. You parents have a baby son or daughter to be baptized, but in several years, it will be they that have a baby to baptize, or a grandchild and so, the chain of faith! Above all, I want to tell you this: you are the persons who hand on the faith, the transmitter; you have the duty to pass on the faith to these babies. It’s the most beautiful legacy that you can leave to them: the faith.”
These words make me remember my parents with gratefulness. Checking on my baptismal certificate, I found out that my dad and mom had me baptized 22 days after I was born on June 21, 1968 at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Madridejos, Cebu. That day, they became the transmitter of the faith. Perhaps it was more of a social convention that motivated them. Little did they know how far it could get me. The door of the faith opened up many other doors. I did not even expect it would lead me to the doors of the seminary. But the greatest door I am delightfully expecting to open is the door to heaven!
One of the greatest gifts I have received in baptism is sanctifying grace. This supernatural gift is free but with wonderful consequences. In his great love, God shared his very life to me. Since that day, I shared in the very heartbeat of God; I breathe his very breath. In a very mysterious way, I have become a child of God. He has given me a dignity and a destiny. He has raised me up to be more than dust. Though created out of clay, he has given me a sublime vocation to share in his divine nature. Moreover, his Spirit lives in me as in a temple. These thoughts give me more reason to believe that we, as persons, are born for greater things!
Believing in the supernatural dimension of our life has tremendous effect. Personally, it gives me a lot of optimism about the future. I know I am not alone in my life’s journey. My faith gives me the power to be resilient. I also observe this in people who keep God in their lives. Once, a nursing student asked me to pray for her because she was preparing for her board exam. I told her to study and pray as I assured her of my prayers. Unfortunately, she did not make it. She was devastated by the result. Yet she was able to rise up from the loss and moved forward. She was able to see beyond the sad experience and learned from it.
Parents may be the transmitter of the faith, but in the end, faith requires a very personal assent. No one can truly inherit faith. Hence, faith is a personal decision when one decides to accept the person of Christ and his message. To foster this personal decision for Christ to those “born Catholics” becomes really challenging. It requires conversion of heart and a deep experience of Jesus who demands from every baptized: “be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

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