Our second godson was born on July 7, 2018. His parents gave him the name Damian More. That’s a lot to live up to when you consider the saints whose names he bears. Today we have the privilege of standing with his parents and older brother as he is baptized and by virtue of the sacrament is born into the God’s family, the Church.
Paragraph 1213 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word'”.
Little Damian More won’t have any real understanding of all that will take place in his life by grace through the faith of his parents today, but knowing his parents very well, they are committed to lead him day by day into a knowledge of his Savior Jesus Christ and how he will become a sharer in the mission of Christ’s Church.
That brings me to his two onomastic saints: Peter Damian and Thomas More.
Peter Damian lived in the 11th century. He was a Benedictine monk and a cardinal of the Church in the time of Pope Leo IX. In 1828 he was named a Doctor of the Church. In his time he was mostly known as a reformer of the Church. In 1050 he wrote a very direct treatise on the vices of the clergy, which included fornication, homosexuality and abuse of minors, as well as the attempts by church officials to cover up these abuses. This was nearly 1,000 years ago!
Thomas More lived in the 16th century and is no doubt better known due to his close relationship with King Henry VIII of England. Sir Thomas More was a close friend of the king, served as his secretary and personal advisor and in 1529 was named Lord Chancellor. More served the king well, but his first allegiance was to Christ, his Church, and the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome, Pope Clement VII. When the pope would not grant the king an annulment from his wife Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, Henry broke from the Church and declared himself head of the Church of England and was granted a divorce. Thomas More could not support the king and resigned his position. He could not justify the king’s action against the Church and the dissolution of his marriage. More paid for his conviction regarding the Sacrament of Marriage with his life. His last words before being beheaded were: “I die the good King’s servant, but God’s first.”
My dear godson Damian More, only God knows what you will be called upon to give witness to, to proclaim and to defend. May the power of the Holy Spirit flood you and empower you, and may the intercession of Peter Damian and Thomas More enable you to stand true in this your century of service to God. You have my prayers always!