The article of the month

In the Sacraments by Father Richard Veras

We Encounter Christ the Savior

The Greatest Gift a Parent Gives

At the core of parents’ true love is the desire for their child’s happiness. But life shows us that parents are not able to guarantee happiness to their children. Were your parents able to spare you the sufferings that life brings? Yet parents’ inability to assure a happy destiny for their children does nothing to quell their hope for this happiness. Is this hope irrational, or is it rather deeper and more transcendent than reason can fathom?
Christian faith tells us not to give up on this desire, because all of our children have a Father who will never abandon them, and who sent his Son to die for them. When parents present a child for baptism they are saying, “I cannot be with you always. I cannot promise the happiness for you that I so desire. However, Jesus Christ can. I desire that you be made a member of his Body, as I am, so that in him we can walk toward the fullness of life together, through good and through bad, even when we are apart, because we will be united in him.”
In the blessing of a mother after her child’s baptism, the Church prays that as the mother rejoices in her child now, she may rejoice with her child for ever before the Father in heaven.
Baptism makes possible the fulfillment of the hope that we have for our children. And so we humbly and hopefully beg for Christ, and we rejoice when he comes in this first and foundational sacrament.


Father Richard Veras is director of pastoral formation at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in New York. He is author of Jesus of Israel: Finding Christ in the Old Testament and Wisdom for Everyday Life from the Book of Revelation.