Birthday or Baptismal Anniversary?

For many years we would celebrate the anniversary of our baptism instead of our birthdays in our congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.  So, every year, on October 1st, I would look to spend one hour of adoration in front of the Tabernacle with my professions candle lit in thanksgiving for the greatest of gifts, the gift of grace received in baptism.  A note would be posted on our community bulletin board so that everyone in our community could pray for me on that day.  Today, we do sing the happy birthday whenever one of our brothers is celebrating his birthday.  However, the tradition of adoration on the baptismal anniversary continues.

St. Francis Ferrer would solemnly celebrate the Mass on his baptismal anniversary.  He would also make a point to stop by the Church he was baptized if he happened to be in Valencia, Spain during those days.  He would proceed to the baptismal font and he would kiss it in gratitude for the greatest of gifts.

Such is the grace of baptism, the grace of the infusion of supernatural life in our souls.  From the point of view of eternity, it is the difference between death and life.  For someone who has made Christ the focal point of his life, the core things in life revolve around this single issue: the life of grace.

If we have fallen into mortal sin, when we have lost grace, life loses its meaning.  We are like zombies walking around.  Life loses its flavor and joy.  Everything becomes artificial.  The most important thing at this point is to eventually find reconciliation with God through confession.  Then we start breathing in peace again.  We find a renewed joy and enthusiasm.  Life has meaning again and we are willing to embrace sacrifice for a higher purpose.  Receiving Christ in the Eucharist is a joy and being with God in prayer is our consolation and rest.

We will continue reviewing the ordinary sources of grace as we reflect on the Sacraments in the weeks to come.

Questions for pondering:

1. Do you know which date you were baptized?  Do you still have your certificate of baptism?

2. What is your attitude when celebrating your birthday?  Is it about you or is it about thanking God for the gift of life?

3. What is your experience of losing grace through mortal sin?

Fr Lino Otero, LC:  Originally from Nicaragua, my family moved to Miami, Florida when I was a teenager. Soon afterwards I experienced the call to serve God without reservations. Since then, I have had experience in hospital ministry, working as a middle school teacher, leading a parish school, organizing soccer tournaments for kids, starting a radio station, training priests in leadership formation, organizing a parish community from maintenance to mission, and much more. I love spiritual direction and preaching. Years of philosophy, psychology and theological training have enriched my personal life and have shaped my message of hope. For more go to

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