Kathryn Swegart recounts how she was reminded of sacramental grace in a concrete way at her grandson's Baptism.
Freezing rain beat down on our windshield, clogging up the wipers, and sending me into the white-knuckle zone. I tried not to look at skims of black ice that coated the roads. Perhaps we should just check into the nearest hotel and not attend our grandson’s Baptism. I suggested this to my husband, but he just gripped the steering wheel and drove on through the messy weather. Perhaps there was some hope that the black clouds would disperse, I thought foolishly, and studied the sky. Not a chance. All was gray and gloomy.
After many agonizing miles, we drove into the church parking lot. By this time my heart pounded with anxiety. I crept along the icy pavement up to the church, hanging onto my husband. He opened the heavy wooden door and we stumbled inside, filed with relief that we had make it in one piece. I tried not to complain to God, but I did. Why did the weather have to be so horrible?
I managed to regain my composure and sat in one of the front pews. I waved to my son and his family, amazed at how happy and relaxed they looked. Monsignor Anthony appeared in the sanctuary and the baptismal rite began.
“What name do you give your child?” he began.
I settled back and absorbed every hopeful word of the ceremony. Meanwhile, my husband held up our cell phone and snapped photographs. Monsignor Anthony continued the prayers. “Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs, that tell us of the wonders of your unseen power.”
At the final “amen,” I looked at the photos recorded on our cell phone. A surprise awaited me. Every image displayed floods of sunlight streaming into the church … like it was a sunny day! I was dumbfounded. Had we captured a photographic record of sacramental grace? I sat for several minutes, not knowing what to think.
I slipped out the front door to check the weather. Freezing rain pelted me in the face. At that moment, another reality hit me in the face. Sacramental grace is real, so real that we can see and feel it, just like, well … sunbeams bursting through clouds on a gloomy day.
Copyright 2021 Kathryn Swegart
Image: Canva Pro