It is a simple prayer symbolizing the cross of Jesus, and the Trinity, and so much more. It is said at the beginning of Mass when the priest commences Mass. My four year old Granddaughter, Lilah, is learning to begin and end her prayers with this prayer. What is the significance for Catholics to say this?
It begins at our Baptism. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This comes directly from Matthew: 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
It seems like such a simple statement. But it truly is packed with power! Essentially, we are asking God, the Father and God His Son (Jesus) and God, the Holy Sprit for his grace and power over all of our being when saying this prayer.
It represents the Trinity where we acknowledge God’s existence as three distinct persons, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Each of them distinct from the other; yet they are identical in essence. Each is fully divine and although distinctly separate, they are one God. 2 Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”
Perhaps it’s best to understand the need for the three persons of God in order that we know the capacity of God’s love. We know that God is all knowing and all loving. We know that He sent His son, Jesus to free us from our sins and allow us to join Him in heaven. We know that God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we choose to follow Him.
Do you ever sense something inside of you encouraging you to take a certain course of action? John Boehner was asked recently on Face the Nation if he felt he had been guided by the Holy Spirit in his decisions regarding leaving his position of speaker. He thought about this question for several days and then discussed it with Cardinal Donald Wuerl a few days later. The Cardinal’s answer to his question was as follows: “Well John, we don’t normally recognize the power of the Holy Spirit except in retrospect.” Then Mr. Boehner said all the dots lined up and he realized it all began making sense.
The Holy Spirit is alive and well and very much a part of our day-to-day reactions.
I remember a very distinct example of the power of the Holy Spirit intervening for me. The year 1973 was about to come to an end. I couldn’t believe it was almost 1974. I had now been living in Oregon for six months. Those were the thoughts going through my mind on that chilly night over forty years ago. I was sitting at a stop light waiting for the light to change. I remember hesitating for a few seconds even though the light had turned green. I can’t explain why I did. The next thing I remember is hearing a very loud crash and feeling the sensation of spinning similar to the feeling of being on ice skates in the middle of a pond. I’m not sure who called the police.
“Wow, what happened?”
“You were in an accident, the police officer said. “Are you ok? Do you need an ambulance?” I remember stepping out of the car feeling shaky but I was fine. I was shocked after seeing my car. It was new; less than six months old. I had bought it just before moving. “Ma’am. I think you were very lucky to be able to walk away. Just a few seconds separated you from the front of your car being hit as opposed to the back end of your car. It would have been far more serious for you, that’s for sure. Is there someone I can call?”
Two weeks later I received a phone call from an adjuster from The Farmers Insurance. She shared with me a story about two young boys who were in a Pizza Restaurant playing video games while celebrating the new year. The owner had asked them to leave since he was closing at midnight. One of the boys was so angry at hearing this he shoved the glass door open while holding his keys. The glass in the door shattered and cut the boy’s arm. Frightened, the boys ran to their car. By the time they arrived at the car they realized the boy’s arm was severely damaged. The other boy, although only 15, took over driving. He decided he had better get his friend to the hospital and fast. He was driving 80 miles an hour down west 11th in Eugene Oregon. It was at this point he crashed into my car. He kept going because his friend was now passed out. They arrived at Sacred Heart Hospital with no time to spare. The boy’s arm and his life were saved! The Doctor told him that had he not arrived when he did, his friend would have likely not made it. The adjuster wanted to make sure I was ok. I assured her that I was fine.
A few years ago I remember reading the same name of the boy who had driven that car. He is now a prominent businessman in Oregon employing over 350 people.
Thomas Merton said, “Every moment and every event of every person’s life on earth plant’s something in their soul.”
There is a plan for us, made very clear, at our Baptism. We are given to God to watch over us so that we can impact each other’s lives.
“In nomine, et Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.”
Copyright 2016 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh