Catholic Q&A

I have a desire to be baptized, but people in my house are opposed to it. Should I be baptized even if it causes discord in my family?

If people in the house have absolutely no knowledge of Christianity, or if they are devoted to the traditional religions, it would be natural on their part to oppose it. Some people think that if their daughters were baptized it would serve as an obstacle when the time came for them to be married, while others may think that it would be a nuisance, because housewives might begin to neglect their household duties and become more concerned about religious practices and so on. Some might even be concerned as to what might happen to the family grave. Regardless of what the case may be, there is no need to overreact.

If you are not yet living and earning on your own, then please be sure to get the sanction of your parents. It would be natural on their part to get worried, since there have been cases of young people having suffered great injury, owing to their having responded to the solicitations of dubious new religions. You may also request the priest or teacher who instructed you to speak to your parents. If you wait for the suitable occasion, they will probably come to understand.

If you happen to be a housewife and your husband does not know much about Christianity, I would still recommend that you speak to him and get his approval. Viewed from a Christian standpoint, it would certainly not be correct if a housewife grew so busy with church matters, that she neglected her household chores. This is because our love for God should be manifested as love for our closest neighbor. However, if going to church does not impede your household duties, but rather, your wife or mother goes to church and returns home with joy, and the outcome is a much brighter home, then I would say let’s have more of it. Even the desire to receive Baptism will in course of time come to be accepted.

With regard to following Christ, the Gospels certainly ask for a strict mindset. In the Gospel of Matthew we have the following sentence, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37). However, such words should not be comprehended without paying heed to the context or situation in which they were spoken. They certainly refer to the ultimate value standards that govern the lives of human beings. Before God the love of family and kinship is by no means an absolute standard, and yet, it is actually the love of parents, family, and neighbors, that wakes up and nurtures this love for God.

Paradoxically, only those with a deep experience of the love of their neighbor will come to know the love for God, which transcends all other love. Baptism is a indeed great blessing, but believe in the great will of God and don’t rush things too much. God is mindful of each individual and guides them in the best way. If He has given you a genuine desire for baptism, He will surely prepare the way for it.

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