Monday, January 28, 2013

Heavenly Birthday

My nephew Weston crowns me with the traditional {outlandish} hat at my birthday party January 5th.
Born on the fifth day of January, I was reborn through the waters of baptism on January 28, at St. Agnes Catholic Church in San Francisco, California, on the feast of St. Peter Nolasco, and the secondary feast of St. Agnes.  While the annual family celebrations surrounding my birthday are always festive and fun, the spiritual meaning of this day, my baptism day, have become more important to me with each passing year. 

By God's divine providence, my future spouse, Timothy, was also baptized on January 28, 1968, thousands of miles away at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Seattle, Washington ~ the same place our firstborn son, Zachary, would be baptized on January 28 (1995).  We specifically chose this date for Zachary's baptism for sentimental reasons, ignorant of the Church's teaching encouraging parents to seek baptism for their children within the first few weeks of birth. 

The new Church Calendar, introduced around 1970 following the Second Vatican Council, moved the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas from March 9 to January 28, so our baptism anniversary now shares the feast of a truly amazing, holy, and brilliant theologian from the thirteenth century.  We place ourselves under the patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas, and ask his intercession, remembering fondly our (brief) visit to the place of his elementary education, the Benedictine Monastery of Monte Cassino, Italy.

I received quite the heaven-sent birthday gift on the occasion of my 45th birthday a few weeks ago, a Douay-Rheims Bible originally given to my father-in-law, Cliff, by his parents on the occasion of his 35th birthday in 1976.  The inscription in Grandpa Tony's handwriting, laments the fact that "In this modern age it has been perfectly possible for a person to have the best Catholic religious training without ever reading a single page of the Bible... (but) it is good to retain and read Sacred Scripture."

Interestingly, this heirloom family Bible was not actually the gift Cliff and Billie originally planned to give me.  In fact their gift giving plans changed quite suddenly when Cliff found this Bible perched on top of the box where the intended birthday gift was stored inside their safe.  "Cliff was pale when he came upstairs holding the Bible," said Billie, "he said THIS is what we are giving Bridget for her birthday."  Unable to explain how the Bible, safely stored and nearly forgotten, appeared on top of an often accessed box in the safe, Cliff took it as a sign that this Bible should be mine.
Cliff explains finding the heirloom Bible in the safe.
Upon opening the package and discovering the Douay-Rheims Bible, I was overjoyed and slightly incredulous ~ before hearing Cliff tell of how it came to be my gift.  Unknown to everyone, the Douay-Rheims Bible has been perched on my (top secret) wish list for a few years.  Ever since Zachary taught me about this translation of the Bible a few years ago, I have nursed a silent hope that someday I would own a copy.  By God's grace, that day came on the occasion of my 45th birthday, and for this gift I shall be eternally grateful to Cliff and Billie, to Cliff's parents Tony and Toni, and to divine providence for placing this Bible in my possession.

Grateful for the precious gift of family gathering, with Bethany, Billie, Grandma O'D, Mom, (me) and Violet

Joseph, Zachary and Peter with Great Grandma and Grandma, visiting to celebrate my birthday; a few days before Zachary's return to the University of Notre Dame for the start of his second semester.
My gift from the boys and Tim: the promise of 100 family Rosaries, cleverly wrapped in a puzzle of parts.
In all the excitement of my birthday celebrations, we had neglected to check the mail.  The following day, I received a handmade card from a cherished priest, shedding even more grace upon what had been a very memorable and phenomenal birthday.  "I'll be praying and offering Mass for you and your intentions on your well as a rosary for you....Happy Birthday."  The icing on my heavenly birthday cake, this tremendous gift gave me yet another reason to praise God for His abundant mercy and endless love. 

1 comment:

Michelle said...

The Douay-Rheims! What a wonderful birthday gift. I've got a Douay-Rheims OT/Confraternity NT that I use.

Did you know there's a plenary indulgence attached to scripture reading of a half hour or more a day? You can get one every day! I figure even if I'm likely not meeting that 3rd condition for a plenary indulgence then at least I'm gaining a partial one!