Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese


Sacramental River


“Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?”
— Acts 8:37


High on the shore,
I heard the rapids call,
boils and eddies and current strong,
coaxing me to come closer;

the river’s surface a deception,
power and depth hidden below,
so I was naive and unafraid
as I gave myself over to it.

Like a child
in the waters of Baptism,
I did not understand 
the river would require all;
once surrendered, no going back.

What looked innocent from afar,
seized my legs and arms and head,
tight wet grip,
immersing,
engulfing,
obscuring,
until I was one
with the water.

I could not think of breathing,
as I tumbled under the river’s control,
deafening rumble with
glimpses of sunlight above,
tossed about like a rag doll.

Then 
as quickly as it had swallowed me,
the river spit me out again,
breaking surface, 
sucking air,
a voice whispering,
“I have given you new birth.”

Written by Time Bete, OCDS
Tim Bete is a Secular Discalced Carmelite from Dayton, OH
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