I joke with my friends Jonathan and Marianne who are expecting their second child often about the fact that they “owe” me because they met on one of my BustedHalo Retreats many years ago. In fact, the first time I met their son, Aiden, he looked deeply at me and this little wry smile came across his face.
I looked to his parents and said, “He knows! And you’re welcome. I’m glad I could be a small part of you being here, Aiden!”
So, Marion and I were recently asked to be the Godparents of their soon-to-be-born child (any day now). And we’re over-the-moon excited. Neither of us have ever been asked to be Godparents in a situation where it would be appropriate for us to do so. We’re a bit on the young side for our cousins to have asked and our nieces and nephew are not Catholic, so we wouldn’t have had the opportunity there. But Jonathan and Marianne are good friends and we’ve really enjoyed their company.
But it occurred to me, that none of this would be happening if it were not for Christ.
A retreat brought Jonathan and Mare together. A retreat that Christ inspired us to start so many years ago. A retreat where God’s love and grace allowed others to share openly, at deeper levels and brought them into a greater awareness of that love through each other.
And that love now gives new life, literally, to all of us and in many other ways as well. It gives a new child to a loving couple, it gives a new experience to my wife and me and it gives new life to a community who witnesses it all.
Sometimes I am sad over the prospect of not having children of our own. But I also know that God had and has other plans for me to be life giving. He gives that opportunity to so many of us, including our priests and women religious. Spiritual directees, students, retreatents, caring for parents and siblings, loving my nieces and nephew…all different experiences of giving life to another.
And it is more than enough.
It seems to me, that this is what a Godparent does best. A Godparent points to the presence of God and takes responsibility for making sure that this actually happens in partnership with their parents who always have a lead role. The parents, you see, need to also have the maturity, do be the primary givers of faith. It is the parents who choose to Baptize their child. The Godparents, merely say “Amen” to what the parents wish FOR the child and promise to keep that kid true to try to honor the promises made on their behalf. These parents are already good at this and treasure their faith. Grandpa is also a Deacon, so this is an easy job for all of us.
As I pray today for the coming of Jonathan and Marianne’s new baby, may that child be filled with the love of Christ and may God continue to show me that indeed I am a giver of life in so many ways.
And a huge amount of gratitude to Jonathan and Marianne for honoring us so.