Today I went to the baptism of a tiny wee baby - a little crumpled up boy not long acquainted with the sun. On the surface of things, he briefly left the security of his mother's or father's arms to have some invading water hit his head - while in fact he was being embraced in the arms of a new Father and a new mother - the Father who is ultimately at the source of everything, not just this boy's being, but all created being.... and a mother who is espoused to God for ever as a Bride washed spotless in the blood of the Lamb.
Unbeknown to him, the whole dispensation of the cross was given to him - he was washed in the water that flowed from the right side of the temple, from the pierced side of the Crucified Christ... "and all those whom that water touched were saved...."
He was visited by the rider of the white horse in the first seal of the book of the Apocalypse. And that rider has conquered and will go on to conquer. The rider will conquer in the struggles of this wee boy as they unfold throughout his life.
He has been given the grace for the victory of love over the struggle with the tendency to pride (the second seal), to vanity (the third seal), to self-indulgence (the fourth seal). He has been given the grace for the victory of love over the tendency to self-righteousness (the fifth seal). He has been given the grace for the victory of love no matter what state the world is in by the time he reaches manhood (the sixth seal). He has been given all he needs to answer the call to contemplation (the seventh seal) because the very Trinity is now dwelling in his soul and prompting him in every impulse of prayer.
This boy's life is about to unfold - he is about to embark on the battlefield of the world - called to the victory of love and assailed from every direction by what would stop love from being itself. But he is not alone - not left only to natural defences. He has now all the supernatural means that he needs to belong to the Victor, to participate in and live the same victory. He is in Christ, a new creation, open to the full redemption of the cross - where mercy triumphs over every darkness. Mercy is his only hope. May mercy always be his joy and homeland.