Aqua Vitae

In anticipation of the upcoming Feast of the Lord’s Baptism (Jan.9), I thought it appropriate to reflect on the life of the saint whose memorial occurs today. We honor St. John Nepomucene-Neumann, the Redemptorist bishop of Philadelphia. He was a Bohemian immigrant named after St. John Nepomucene, a fifteenth-century Bohemian martyr who was drowned in the Moldau River and who is invoked as the patron saint of flood victims. This is timely, because the world continues to stand today in prayerful solidarity with the tsunami victims and their families. But I also pause to reflect on the irony that St. John Neumann is the patron of the parish where I was baptized.

In Easter1981, my parents took me down to Lubbock, Texas, where my Godparents live. My uncle and Godfather is a Deacon of the Diocese there, and he was at that time assigned to serve under the pastoral direction of a very blessed man. Fr. Joe James was pastor of St. John Neumann’s parish, and it was he who baptized me in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

So I stand now, partway between the feast of the Holy Name and the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, reflecting on my own Baptism in the Name of the Triune Lord, my own cleansing in the Waters that bring Eternal Life. I invoke the intercession of St. John Neumann, whose patronage brought me into God’s Holy People. I ask his continued blessing on my Godparents, whose prayers and guidance sustain me in the Faith.

I ask his blessing on Fr. Joe James, who washed me of my sin.

I also invoke the intercession of St. John Nepomucene today; so many perished in that destructive deluge last month. May St. John and the Holy Angels watch over those many souls! May their families, their communities, and their homelands find consolation, peace, and the vigilant charity of the global community. May Christians all over the world be a sign of Christ’s cleansing relief in the midst of overwhelming disaster. May the Waters of Life wash over what Darkness has wrought and bring about a Springtime of Renewal.

This we ask in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen~

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