A great vocation story from The Arlington Catholic Herald, on the journey of Deacon Michael Baggot, who was ordained this past weekend:
Deacon Baggot was born in Texas in May 1985, but spent most of his life in Virginia, where his family moved to be closer to his grandmother. While his parents were both born Catholic, they had fallen away from the faith. It was through his grandmother that he caught glimpses of Catholicism. But while he was very close to her growing up, she never pressured him to share her beliefs — she only prayed.
With no direction as a child, he drifted into an agnostic view of God and the world.
“My sensitivity to the beauty of nature and art led me to conclude the existence of a creator,” said Deacon Baggot. “But I did not believe that creator had any impact on my life.”
He regarded those with religious beliefs to be good, but unintelligent, people holding onto a fantasy. But as much as he wanted nothing to do with religion, he could not avoid the allusions and references to Catholic culture as he read. He realized if he wanted to teach literature one day, he needed to learn more about this religion, so he studied it as if it were mythology.
On one of his many trips to the library he picked up a book called, Intellectuals Speak Out about God. Opening the cover, he found an introduction by Ronald Reagan and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI.
It slowly was becoming more reasonable to believe in God’s existence. During high school, he met a friend, one of the smartest people he knew. The only problem was this friend was a devout Christian.
“I thought if I only just studied the Bible and found the contradictions, I could save him,” said Deacon Baggot.
In an effort to rescue his friend, Deacon Baggot read the New Testament and prepared to challenge the book’s main character — it did not go as planned.
“I was instantly impressed with the person of Christ,” said Deacon Baggot, who recognized that Christ had solid moral advice that could help his life. However, he was hesitant to accept the miracles and other supernatural aspects of the text. He needed more information and headed to the local bookstore.
Among the countless books on religion and mythology, a little volume called Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis caught his eye.
“I had enjoyed Narnia so I knew he was an excellent writer, and it was a small book, so I thought ‘this couldn’t hurt,’” said Deacon Baggot. “C.S. Lewis ruined everything,” he laughed. “I’m one of the many victims of Lewis.” The book helped him understand the deepest truths of the faith.
Read it all.Ad multos annos!
Photo: Regnum Christi