As I let myself be immersed in the moment of beauty, awe, mystery, and fear, floating on my back in the vast ocean, I began to swim the backstroke, tentatively at first, and then, realizing that I was in a practically limitless body of water with no obstacles in my path, I began to swim “all out.” I felt the most amazing sense of being invited to trust God more deeply, buoyed by the joy of letting go and hearing, or rather, feeling God speak to me, saying, “you are my beloved son.” Although I had no idea where I was going, I knew that I was having an experience that was teaching me that I didn’t need to know. I felt a renewal of my baptism and the companionship of Jesus, who had shared a similar experience and really wanted to help me embrace my life journey with his example and comforting presence to guide me.
As we immerse ourselves in this next stretch of time in the Church year, we will be given the opportunity to reflect on how people come to know Jesus. Pope Francis has invited all of us to come to know Jesus in a new way, to have “a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter [us].” For five weeks we will explore together what this means and the steps we can take to make ourselves more open to an encounter with Jesus Christ--an encounter that has the potential to change our lives.
This is a great time to recall the gift of our baptism: God’s invitation to know and follow his Beloved Son. Most of us do not recall the baptism that happened when we were infants. We tend to think of baptism only as a ritual lasting a few moments. Actually, baptism is an ongoing immersion in the identity and mystery of Jesus, deepening and bearing fruit over a lifetime. It’s a great time to ask ourselves why we spend our lives chasing after things that fail to satisfy us, when the only thing that will truly satisfy us is Christ. We were created for union with God, and God willed that this union should come about through Christ. I am so grateful for a moment in the ocean that taught me to trust more deeply in God’s desire to help me go “all out” to reach my full potential in union with his Beloved Son.
Take Your Next Step: What fears hold you back from going “all out”? What causes you to question taking another step in learning about Jesus and deepening your relationship with him? How do you spend your life on things that don’t really satisfy? What will you do this week to immerse yourself more deeply in the gift of your own baptism: God’s invitation to know and follow his Beloved Son?