by M. J. Joachim
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Our family was recently invited to a young neighbor’s baptism. Their family is Mormon. We’d never been to a Mormon baptism before. I remember lots of Catholic “do’s & don’ts” growing up. Attending other religions ceremonies definitely was on the “don’t” list, as was attending weddings that weren’t performed in a Catholic church, preferably with a Catholic Mass to sanctify the vows. Marrying people who weren’t catholic was also a big “No-no.” And if you did, you had to jump through all sorts of hoops and sign all sorts of documents stating you would make sure any children born from that marriage were brought up catholic.
My husband wasn’t Catholic when I married him. We didn’t get married in the Catholic Church 22 years ago, but we did have a very Christian ceremony. I don’t know if my dad went to confession or not, but he did walk me down the aisle. I’m still Catholic and eventually, we had our marriage blessed in the Catholic Church. A few years later, my husband converted to Catholicism. We love God and our faith very much.
Neither of us had a second thought when we were invited to attend our eight year old neighbor’s baptism. We knew we were going. After all, we were invited and this was a very special day to celebrate with our neighbors.
Religion isn’t supposed to divide and conquer us. It’s supposed to bring us closer to God. Attending our neighbor’s baptism was a very wonderful event. I had to do a little googling to know what sort of gift was appropriate, because I don’t know that much about the Mormon faith, and I certainly didn’t want to offend anyone. The ceremony was beautiful and we were in community with some very kind and delightful people.
We were also exposed to their faith and religion. They believe different things than catholics, and their ceremonies are different too. I’ll share more about that in my next post, because this one is getting rather long.
I suppose the biggest point I want to make in this post is about the 11th Commandment. There is no holier than thou. We need to love our neighbors as ourselves, and let our faith in God reveal itself through our actions. No one is better than anyone else. Our actions reveal what’s truly in our hearts.
We’re all on a journey to meet our maker some day, and when we do, I hope it’s with a smile that says, “Jesus I adore you, lay my life before you, how I love you.” We can’t do that if we’re too busy thinking we’re above reproach, because we have the only religion that matters, and condemn everyone and anyone else seeking God. This goes for all organized religions. The moment judgment, discrimination and hatred enter the mix, all bets are off.
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