Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Enter the Octagon

Do you remember this theatrical masterpiece? I was six years-old when it came out and remember my next door neighbor bragging how his dad had taken him to see it. I refer to it now because my friend Kathi Strunk (the person crazy enough to suggest I start a blog) threw down the gauntlet: "When will Chuck Norris appear in one of your posts?" 

I admit; I was stymied. How could I bring Chuck to bear on my contemplation of the Faith? Sure, there's the spiritual warfare aspect - but that's so played. Some other aspect of Chuck's mystique was needed. So I asked the Holy Spirit, and as I continued to think about Chuck, the phrase "Enter The Octagon" and this old movie popped into my head.

I realized that Chuck responded, in a highly metaphorical way...involving Ninjas, to the same call as each of the baptized. What, I've lost you?

Well, when you were baptized, chances are that the baptismal font was shaped like an octagon. You will see exceptions but, throughout history, that has been the traditional shape. The reason goes back to a passage in the First Epistle of Peter: 

"God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you." (1 Peter 3:20-21)
Amazing - which of us attending a baptism ever stops to think about the significance of the font having eight sides - that it is a physical representation of the biblical word? Our Catholic Faith is filled with these kind of things, though.

If you want to know more about the way our sacramental liturgies bring Scripture to life, spend a few evenings in Jean Danielou's classic, The Bible and the Liturgy. Oh, and take a moment to reflect upon your own Baptism (when you "entered the octagon) by viewing this profound 1980, theatrical trailer. Just as the announcer says of Chuck, we too "find freedom only one way."

(Note: this trailer has no value other than the ultra-manly pics of Chuck Norris. It should not actually be used for mature theological reflection and is unsuitable for viewing by children.)