On being Godparent
Above all else, know this: Be prepared at all times for the gifts of God and be ready always for new ones. For God is a thousand times more ready to give than we are to receive.
– Meister Eckhart
On Sunday evening Catherinanne and I had dinner with our friends Andrew and Pamela and little Peter. We thought it to be a brilliant time to see friends that we had not seen a few weeks and we were grateful for the invitation to be with them. As Meister Eckhart says, we need to “…be ready at all times for the gifts of God.” We were floored to over dinner to be asked a simple question that has brought joy into out hearts that we have been revelling in since Sunday. “Pamela and I would like for you both to be Peter’s Godparents,” Andrew said quite unhesitatingly. We were at that moment rapturous. Since that time the sense of how honoured we are to be considered for this role has grown that much stronger. True indeed, then, that “…God is a thousand times more ready to give than we are to receive.” This is a great gift of God’s giving and we are thrilled to bits over this.
In our family, Catherinanne and I are godparents Lauren, and Dafydd. As a couple, we are also Godparents to Alanah and we have tried to live up to the role as best we can, trying always to be present to her in matters of faith and always trying to build relationship with her. She has been a joy in our lives and we have been made better because of our relationship with her. She has been a witness to us in many ways. I hope that we can be a positive influence in the life of little Peter Sasso.
I am sure that many of you have been asked to be a Godparent before or perhaps you are preparing for that role right now. So what is a Godparent called to do? I did a little internet search and found some answers to this question. [Not to say that I had no idea, but I was curious as to what ‘people’ are saying.] Here is what the Anglican Church is New Brunswick has to say; [The red parts are my reflection after the next three points]
1. Godparents represent the Church of Jesus Christ, as new members are initiated into the Christian faith and life.
· godparents can and still do represent the community of faith at the act of baptism
· the presence of godparents from other families within Christendom underscores the universality of the Church and the strength of our wider fellowship as Christians.
· godparents maintain a vital interest in the spiritual life of the candidate’s family
· Their ongoing concern is not only the welfare of the individual they sponsor, but also the spiritual atmosphere in which the child is raised
· a godparent brings the life of faith to the Christian family as a friend and representative of the greater Church
Now this is a good thing as I see it. I like the idea of representing the Christian Community. Since I am from another “family within Christendom” than young Peter I am pleased to think that my presence could help underline the universality of the church. It is also good news for us that we get to be interested in the spiritual life of the candidate’s family – because truthfully, Peter’s family has been very important in our spiritual life.
2. The godparent is the guarantor of education.
· Godparents are rarely a child’s primary educator
· the sponsor must maintain a lively interest in the candidate’s Christian education
· The godparent himself or herself should possesses a level of spiritual maturity
· Sharing the substance of the faith with a godchild is a rewarding and exciting charge
Thank goodness they acknowledge that the godparent is NOT the primary educator. In the meantime, I fancy myself a bit of an educator and I have witness how good Catherinanne is at educating so I am hoping that we might be able to help Peter out with this. I do know that having a level of spiritual maturity is a large task and I find myself in the infancy of my spirituality and in my faith. The good news is I am working toward spiritual maturity all the time.
3. A godparent is a mentor, helper, and friend.
· Godparents should seriously consider whether they are capable of making a lifetime commitment to another human being
· they must expect to be available to their godchildren at all times for counsel, encouragement, and companionship
· This experience of faithful companionship should be a comfortable and natural one for Christians, modeling their relationship with their godparents, their first friends in faith.
This sums it up well. This commitment is lifelong and it is a serious commitment to undertake. When we make those promises at the baptism in a few weeks, we will be making a commitment for our, and/or Peter’s, lifetime. That’s a big commitment! Indeed, our hope is that we will be there for him and for his family in any way that we can be in the future.
Now, who really knows if the Anglicans in New Brunswick know anything? They may be out to lunch. So I thought I would read some Roman Catholic stuff. Having read a little about what might exclude me and a little more about how I can witness along with a ‘Catholic’ godparent [conveniently I am married to a ‘good Catholic’], I decided to leave well enough alone a settle for the ‘stuff’ that I read from the New Brunswick Anglos.
There is so much joy in our heart to take on another lifelong commitment to another human being and to seek to try and offer teaching and counsel to that young man regarding a Nazarene named Jesus. I want to teach Peter about a little law f life that Jesus spoke of – LOVE. I want to teach him about loving others and finding Jesus in others. I want to teach Peter that being an important part of the church is all about service and all about loving. I want to be able to do that by being a part of that great family of his. The Sasso and Sweeney families are great people of faith and they have both been so influential in our lives. We only hope to be able to give to Peter and part of the good witness that his ancestors have given to us. I journey on now hoping to learn more of how I can be a godparent. If you have insights – be sure and pass them on.