Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time well spent

My husband and I are one of the couples that teaches Baptism prep classes at our parish. You want your baby baptized, you gotta go through us! Seriously though, it's a small thing we do, just a two class session a few times a year. We've really enjoyed it though and it has been a gateway to getting us involved in other things at church, which I do love.

Last Monday we had the second class for this particular group. One of the families is from Mexico and spoke some, but not much English. They brought their older daughter with them to help translate, and the godparents attended as well. We did our best to include them in the discussions, since we do a lot of sharing back and forth with the families, but they often didn't have too much to say. The godparents were very quiet. I wasn't sure if they were simply a little shy of talking due to their English skills, or if they weren't understanding much of what we said. It was hard to tell, but we did our best.

Afterward the class was over, the godfather from this group came up to us. He told us how he grew up in a small village in Mexico where they didn't have their own church. A priest would come a couple times a year to say mass, so they'd all drop what they were doing and run when they heard the bells ring because it meant mass was beginning. He said his family taught him what they could about God, but since they didn't have a church, he felt like he missed out on things. Then he told us how much he enjoyed the class and that he learned a lot. He went on to say that he'd been through baptism classes before, as he has six children of his own, but no one had ever explained the signs and symbols of the sacrament as well as we did. He said over and over that he was so happy to have learned new things, and that he'd sat through baptism classes before and felt like they were a waste of his time. But this was time well spent.

I was so touched and humbled. They way he spoke of his home was so sad and yet hopeful. And his enthusiasm for the time he'd spent in class was very touching. I always wonder if people feel like these classes are just something they have to put up with in order to get on with baptizing their child. But he was happy to have been there and that made me feel really good.

I don't share this to toot my own horn or brag about how great my class is. I've just been thinking about him all week and wanted to ponder our conversation a little. Far from making me feel some sort of puffed up pride in myself, I feel like in some small way, maybe the Holy Spirit is working through me. And that is nothing but humbling in the best possible way.

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