Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 30, 2004
Baptism was the goal of a life of searching
By CARLA FROST
Special to the WCR
What does it mean to be baptized into the right Church?
Three years ago I was faced with that question. I was 34 years old and I had never been baptized or even really understood the great importance of Baptism.
Given that I was raised in a single parent home and the youngest of six siblings, my life was mainly about daily survival. My father died when I was 10 years old, leaving my mother to raise all six children on her own.
Even though my mother worked full time as a nurse, we lived in a state of poverty. We never went to church or, for that matter, ever talked about God. I had questions but my mother would only say, "It's your choice and it does not really matter." This lack of understanding and guidance was the beginning of a spiritual journey that led me into a dark hole with no light in sight.
When I left home I spent years studying various religions and organizations that left me lost and confused. After awhile I came to the conclusion my mother was right - there was no God and no need to be baptized. So I fell into a life of darkness and depression that never seemed to change. During my search I never went near the Catholic Church because other religions and people would tell me to stay clear of this Church.
Three years ago, I had come to the end of my journey. I was tired, sick and totally alone. An elderly lady had told me of a place at a retreat centre in Edmonton where I could find rest. I have never seen this lady again and don't know who she was except that she was a stranger helping a weary traveller. Those moments in my life now bring me great comfort. The retreat centre would prove to be the beginning of a whole new life for me.
One evening as I sat down to take my supper meal in the dinner hall, I noticed a priest eating alone. At this moment my heart was filled with such warmth and joy. This sensation overwhelmed me. I had never felt this way in my whole life. I asked myself could this be real or is it just another dark alley?
At first I did not know how to approach him, but somehow God gave me the strength. The moment of truth had finally arrived to set me free and show me the true house of God.
That time has passed now and I have found the true Church of God. I am at peace as a baptized Catholic and I am happy to know in my spirit that God carried me when I was lost and alone.
Today, people ask me, "Are you a Catholic?" They make a strange face I know all too well, but I just smile and say, "You bet I am." I know Baptism is the gift of life and to be able to celebrate it in the right house does matter.