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Saint Regina

Yesterday was the day we remembered Saint Regina on the calendar of Saints. Nobody knows much about Regina. Her mother died in childbirth. Her father was a prosperous pagan. Poor motherless Regina was handed off to a nurse who took it upon herself to baptize Regina. When Regina's father heard that his daughter had been baptized, he immediately disowned her. My hagiography says he flew into a rage over it! The nurse took Regina in. They were poor and Regina helped out by herding sheep. Eventually a man whom I'll not dignify by naming proposed marriage to her. She refused and he put her in prison for it. Eventually he tortured her to death for her refusal to deny her faith, marry him, and sacrifice to idols. It was a brutal death to be sure.

I admire the martyrs, possibly more than I should. But, with all respect to Regina, what touched me about this story wasn't her faithfullness in the face of torture. It's that it was her baptism that set it all off. Really, it defined the rest of her life.

Apparently, even a pagan can recognize the indelible mark of baptism. Having been raised by baptists that seems pretty remarkable to me. My own credobaptism wasn't that way. The baptists call what I had "believer's baptism." And I guess that was OK. But, it had more to do with something that I did, I believed, than it did with anything God had done.

I am wondering why we don't take baptism so seriously anymore. What would it mean if we did? And I guess the underlying question is to ask what baptism actually is. I'm not talking about the catechetical answer. I know that one. I need something better. I am thinking about that.


Diane said...

I'm totally with you on this. I wrote something about it once, a long time ago.... how when we have our children baptized, we set them on a dangerous adventure...