by Gregorio Vivanco Lopes
If you see beautiful and tasty apples growing on a hawthorn bush, know that it was not this rough bush that produced them but a miracle of God. If you see a beautiful singing nightingale hatch from the egg of a serpent, know that it was not the serpent that beget it but another divine miracle.
In this century which seems to fulfill Our Lord's prophecy, "when you see the abomination of desolation in the holy place ... there shall be then great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be" (Mt 24:15-21) the thoughts above help us to understand how a tendency to ask for baptism can suddenly emerge among adolescents born to non-religious parents.
As this phenomenon has become well known in France, the leading Catholic newspaper La Croix writes an extensive report about in its Religion and Spirituality section (4/19/14). Its headline reads: "To the surprise of their families, an ever increasing number of children over seven undertake a journey of faith."
" 'To make me better'. 'Because I felt a need to grow in faith.' 'To give a meaning to my existence and put my life in God's hands.' These are the words with which Alexander, Victoria and M'Ballou witness their journey.
"Along with ten others comrades of theirs from the chaplaincies [pastoral schools] of Vanves and Malakoff (district of Hauts-de-Seine), these three teens aged 14-19 are preparing to become Christians. Their desire to be baptized does not come from their family traditions."
"It is impossible to know, among the 12,000 children between ages 7 and 12 and the 5,000 adolescents aged between 12 and 18 that are baptized every year, how many have made an entirely personal choice absolutely without their parents' intervention, whether they were non-believers, practitioners of another religion, or simply fallen away from church.
Those responsible find that this phenomenon is taking on a large scope. "To the surprise of his parents, a non-baptized mother and an atheist father, Alexander, 14, a good high school student chose to embrace the Catholic faith.
"While attending a baptism, M'Ballou, now preparing for a nursing test, felt a desire to draw closer to the Church. 'I grew up free but without faith, between a Catholic mother and a Muslim father. I realized that I was missing the faith,' says the young man, now 19.
"Victoria, now 17, with a clear look and wearing a black leather jacket, says that the question of religion was never raised in her home. 'My parents are divorced. My mother is baptized but never went to the Catechism, and my father has an image of the Grim Reaper tattooed on his arm: religion is not at all according to his taste.'
The girl has been regularly but unsuccessfully calling to be baptized since she was 6. Then, when she turned 15 she said, 'I got really angry', and her mother called the chaplaincy.
"In Colommiers (Aude), Benjamin admits to feel a certain 'pride' seeing his son Maxime, 10, prepare for the celebration. 'It was through scouting that he decided to attend catechism, be baptized and make his First Communion. For our part, neither my wife nor I are believers or practitioners. It is his first choice as an adult. I see him grow and he decides his own way, becomes autonomous.' "
The fact that such signal and unexpected graces could germinate in this century of disbelief and shame can only be attributed to an action of the Holy Spirit through the prayers of Mary Most Holy.
"The wind blows where it wills; you hear his voice but know not whence it comes and whither it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (Jn 3:8).
An unbeliever might ask, "but where will all this lead? It has no future. It will be eventually swallowed by the waves of modernity."
The answer is: Our Lord is not the God of unfinished works. If He began to build, He will come to an end even if He has to remove mountains and shake oceans, produce earthquakes and activate volcanoes.
Those who have faith must follow this phenomenon, favor it as much as they possibly can, and above all expect with all certainty the final victory of God.