In the spirit of spontaneity and pure wanderlust, my closest girls and I decided to check out the new Harry Potter world and return to a place of nostalgia – Universal Studios. We made our way down to LA and entered into the world of movies. We started with Harry Potter, enjoyed the afternoon with the Simpsons, and endured the 2+ hour long wait for the studio tour. The day was coming to an end when we finally decided to make time for the one last small ride we had left on our list – Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. I was expecting a quick cute ride to top off our long day of fun, but what I got was a game-changing call to holiness.
The premise of the ride is to become one of Gru’s minions. You are shrunk down to minion size and go on a crazy adventure through his “super-villain laboratory.” Agnes (the youngest of Gru’s adopted daughters) is trying to give Gru a gift on the anniversary of the day he adopted them. At the moment Agnes expresses her desire and excitement to do so, it suddenly hit me – am I this excited to celebrate with God the Father the day He adopted me into His family?!
Growing up, my baptism was never something I thought about much. In fact, the only time I thought about baptism was when a baby happened to be getting baptized at my parish during Sunday Mass. It wasn’t until I got to college, when I learned more about the beauty of the Sacrament and saw others celebrating their baptismal anniversaries, that I started to make my baptismal day a big deal. Well, first I had to look up the date so that I knew when to celebrate! 😉
Over the years, my baptism has been becoming more and more special to me because of the gift of salvation that it brings. When April 20th rolls around every year and I get to commemorate that glorious day I received the Sacrament, I usually celebrate it for my sake. Almost like, “yayy for me that I received the Sacrament of Baptism and am now allowed access to Heaven!” or “yayy for the intimate union with Jesus this Sacrament has brought me!”
And then I feast on whatever sweets I want.
But what little Agnes reminded me of during this Minion ride was that my baptism is not just about me.
She reminded me that my baptism was not only a gift of grace, a gift of salvation, but it’s something much more personal than that. It’s the day I was ADOPTED into God’s family. It’s the day God the Father adopted me to be His daughter. Yes, there is beauty in the graces given through the Sacrament, but even more, that was the day my personal relationship with the Lord started. The day He claimed me as His own. The day my parents gave me back to Him.
I realized that my baptism isn’t to be a celebration just for myself and by myself, but it should celebrated with the One who adopted me, who made it all possible. It’s not just the graces that I need to be celebrating, but the relationship with God! Agnes reminded me that I ought to be approaching my baptismal anniversaries more with a sense of gratitude, an opportunity to thank and honor the Lord who adopted me into His family.
As the ride goes on, the girls keep losing a grip on the gift – it gets blasted through the air, stuck in an anti-gravity tube, and nearly gets crushed by the machines. All the while, Agnes is anxiously trying to get it back, and it seems Gru has little regard for it. By the end of the ride, Agnes is finally able to get the gift back in her hands and offers her little gift to her father who is very grateful. But to her surprise, he opens the door and waiting for the girls is a HUGE party complete with rides, sweets, and decorations galore as his way of celebrating the day he adopted them to be his own.
I nearly cried at this point, and it’s making me well up with tears now as I type this. Because I realized that, yes, I love my baptism, I’m very grateful, and I try to make it a big deal, but I’ve failed to realize that all the while God the Father is rejoicing EVEN MORE than I am over my baptism!
All this time He’s just been waiting for me. He’s been waiting for me to remember, He’s been waiting for me to celebrate. As much joy as it brings me to think of my daughtership to God, it gladdens His heart infinitely more to be my Father. Seeing the celebration Gru threw for his daughters just reminded me that God’s love for me is farrrr greater than I can ever imagine, farrrr deeper than mine could ever be for Him, and He is okay with that. It delights His heart more than anything else to lavish His love on us and to even just hear us say, “I love You too.”
Jesus once told St. Teresa Avila in a vision, “I would create the universe again just to hear you say that you love me.” How deeply He loves us is something I so often forget. I tend to believe the lie that I have to earn His love, that God’s love is limited according to how well I behave or how well I serve Him. But Gru’s agape love for his daughters is an incredible visual reminder of the truth that God’s love is so free, so grand, and so everlastingly unconditional.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that He may grant you in accord with the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:14-18
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