Today is the Feast of St. Patrick. For probably obvious reasons, this day has significance for me since I am named after this holy man of God.
I went to Mass this morning, and, in honor of St. Patrick, Fr. Ernesto used this as a closing prayer:
Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.
This prayer was so true for me today, as I celebrated the birth of my new baby nephew, Andrew Jr.
I was most certainly consumed by God in every sense, from receiving Him in the Eucharist as I started this day to the loving support of my parish community to the courage to re-prioritize my day to seeing the joy of my family to holding a gift from heaven in my arms.
The change that a newborn brings about in his/her parents is, of course, monumental. But, is there a different, yet no less monumental change brought about in the lives of the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends, communities?
I would say that the answer is an absolute yes.
I don't know how my life will be different. But it will definitely not be the same.
I have a new teacher in my life. A young man who will teach me about love. How to receive love, but definitely how to give love. This young man will be a reminder by every laugh and cry and dirty diaper that, even though I thought I had love figured out, I don't.
And while this young man cannot use words to speak yet, he'll communicate a language that is at the core of every human heart he will come in contact with. A language of life. A language of hope. A language of family.
There is cuteness in thinking about sharing in the journey of this young man. But this new life has caused me to think about my own conversion. If I am to live my vocation as uncle, I must be a better Christian, a better son and brother, a better friend, a man of integrity, an example of God's mercy and peace.
At every Mass, the priest prays these words that has really stood out to me lately:
Make us grow in love.
We better get started, nephew. I have a lot to learn from you.
P.S. Nephew, on the day you were born, the Lakers had a bad loss to the 76ers, I have not yet completed my NCAA Tournament bracket, and I'm sleepy but want to catch up on 24.