I tell you most solemnly, unless someone is born through water and the Spirit, they cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5

Today’s Gospel reading is John 3:1-8.  The Kingdom of God is not a place but a state of relationship, with God and with the community of believers, that is entered into through baptism. It is our stepping into eternal life already here and it will be fulfilled in eternity.

However isolated we may be, we are never alone: we are in relationship with God and with one another despite geographical distancing.

For St Eugene, the most important day of his life was his baptism. He gratefully and solemnly recalled its anniversary every year.

The anniversary of my baptism. Before leaving St-Martin to go to Marseilles, I said, at the Mass, with a profound sense of gratitude, repentance and confidence, joined to what I dare to believe, sincere good will, these beautiful prayers from the Vienna missal:

Blessed may you be Lord, you who in your great mercy have given us new birth to a living hope of an incorruptible inheritance, grant us always to desire, as new-born infants, pure rational milk so that through it we may advance to salvation. (Cf. IP 1,34 and 2,2), God, thanks to your inestimable love, we are called to be your children and such we are (Cf.: 1 In. 3, 1), grant that, through the power of this sacrifice, we, who have received the Spirit of adoption as children in baptism, may obtain the promised blessing as our inheritance.

Lord, this faith, that you have given us at our baptism, we now renew at your altar, renouncing Satan and choosing to fulfill the law of Christ; grant that we, who have received a pledge of the eternal life promised to us, may gain continual growth in the sinless life to which we have dedicated ourselves.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 2 August 1837, EO XVIII

Let us make this prayer our own today, remembering how at baptism, the Sign of the Cross was traced on our foreheads and we were claimed for Christ our Savior

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I arose this morning wondering why I had not slept well last night; my mind would not give up as it wandered back and forth between wakefulness and sleep. I need to let go of this malaise which once again afflicts me.

    The sign of the cross traced on our foreheads. I think of the times when I have done that to others; those who are sick, or unable to receive the sacraments, those whom I love and who are suffering, those who carry within themselves and share joy and great beauty and to whom I am forever grateful. Yesterday I ended my reflection by inviting any who heard my words to bless each other. Even as I had written the words and then shared them I had wondered where they came from.

    I sit here thinking about this for a moment – not out of any piety but because I sense there is nowhere else for me to go at this moment.

    I think of the love which accompanies me as I bless those I love – a touch small though it may be. Where has this instinctive and perhaps intuitive way of acting come from?
    Could it be that unconsciously I have picked up that which has claimed me even before I was aware of it?

    Perhaps it is the same as loving and sharing; that which has become our base, the deepest part of ourselves, rising from within us, seemingly of its own volition for it is greater than anything we could ourselves give life to.

    “You are mine” the words spoken to me by God. God claiming me as God’s own. There is light; there are small struggling tendrils of hope and trust.

    I dare to begin in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…

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