Saturday, November 12, 2016
The Gift of Godparents
In a couple of hours, I will go to my childhood church to celebrate the life of my godfather. It is the church where I received the three sacraments of initiation and had my First Reconciliation.
Aside from him almost always being present for sacraments celebrated in community for me or my girls and many, many gifts over the years to celebrate holidays and milestones or to express his pride in my GPA, I am realizing as an adult that the most important gift from him was his strong, unwavering faith and consistent physical presence. I was blessed to grow up in the same church as him, being able to sit in the pew behind him and his wife (my sister's godmother) and witness their faith.
Not too long ago my mom and I had some tensions related to faith and at one point she said something along the lines of, "Nobody my age believes that anymore," but then added on that my godfather and his wife were an exception to that assumption. He recently gave me some money to buy something for my baby, and I chose to purchase a Nativity figurine of the Holy Family. I like that it will be a symbol of passing on the faith, the impact godparents can have on future generations through nurturing the faith of their godchildren.
In the Reborn series, there is an emphasis on praying for godchildren as a vital role of godparents. While I had prayed for my godfather before, during the week of his death I felt a conviction that the reciprocal of godchildren intentionally praying for godparents is also a special role. Through a series in youth group last fall, I began to reflect on the Spiritual Work of Mercy to pray for the dead. As my godfather prepared to and then transitioned into his new life, I have been praying for him. I pray in gratitude for all he contributed to bringing me closer to God. Then, since there is no way of fully understanding the process, I pray for him if he is in purgatory coupled with a prayer of gratitude if that phase is already complete for him.
Eternal rest grant upon him, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him.