It was Simone de Beauvoir’s birthday on Thursday (Jan. 9), an event commemorated by a Google doodle. If you don’t know much about her life, don’t worry, I shan’t expound here. Let it suffice that she turned her back on Catholicism after a ‘crisis of faith’ at a very early age, and dedicated her life to existentialism, ardent feminism, and, well, depravity sums it up, really.
Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord, which brought an end to the private life of Jesus and marked the beginning of His public ministry. In his homily, Father remarked that he is often asked by random people if it is true that they must be baptized in order to get to heaven. “Yes,” he answered. The answer is always yes. We must be sensitive to circumstances etc., when we give the answer, but the fact of the matter is, yes, we must be baptized. God has ways beyond our understanding to bring about the faith that is necessary to make us pleasing to Himself, but baptism is the way that we have been given. The rest is up to Him.
On the way home from Mass, I listened to one of the Lighthouse CDs. This one was of the testimony of Betty Brennan, a former Satanist. Thankfully she skirted the gruesome details, but the hair stood up on the back of my neck just at the brief mentions she made of what it entailed. What really stood out for me, from her whole talk, was that she said she didn’t turn her back on God because she was angry (it happened after her child died) but because she was vulnerable. She needed to be able to talk to someone, she needed help, comfort, and consolation, and the person who was there, happened to be a Satanist. Isn’t that frightening?
So here’s the lesson I learned this week: faith is a precious gift. I am so grateful to have the mark of baptism, to have been claimed by God through His Church. I sometimes wonder who I would be, what I would be doing, if I ever let go of that gift. It’s not a pleasant thought. Hearing stories like Simone de Beauvoir’s or Betty Brennan’s, I resolve all over again to hold on tight, to not take it for granted, and to shore it up through frequent use of the sacraments and forging strong Catholic friendships.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.