By Sr. Annie Klapheke
On January 11th, I was received into the Canonical Novitiate with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. This joyous celebration coincidentally coincided with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Just hours away from becoming Sister Annie, I sat in the unpacked, cluttered bedroom of my new community home and reflected on the profound call of Baptism. I re-read the day’s Gospel, which paints the picture of Jesus’ Baptism.
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11)
I put on some music to help guide my prayer; a song that I had been praying with over the past month – “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” from the musical Godspell. The lyrics simply repeat the phrase, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord.’ As I listened to the music, I closed my eyes and began imagining the scene of Jesus’ Baptism. I pictured the crowds parting as Jesus approached John on the banks of the Jordan. I pictured Jesus and John both smiling, anticipating that something great was about to happened. I imagined myself going with Jesus under the water, and as the music swelled, breaking through the water’s surface and gasping in a deep breath of new life. And then a voice, ‘You are my beloved; with you I am well pleased’. At the moment of Baptism, we are changed, and things will never be the same again.