Baptism by Water
With the exception of last week’s post on my lack of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve been quite quiet here at Truth and Charity. I have a good reason, I assure you. The moms reading this will understand my lack of posting (I’m sure the Blessed Mother herself understands). Last month, on one of my favorite Marian feasts (Our Lady of Guadalupe), my family and I welcomed our sixth baby, a perfect, healthy little girl. We wanted to rush her straight to the local church and have her baptized on our way home from the hospital. Who am I kidding? I’ve wanted to do it in the delivery room, but have been assured by more than one person who is wise in the ways of Holy Mother Church that I really should wait and have the normal rite performed unless there’s a grave reason. (If the Latin Rite allowed for infants to receive their first Holy Communion, I’d probably be the first in line for that as well.) In reality, as is our family’s custom, we waited a “normal” amount of time before doing that and celebrated our daughter’s first sacrament before she was three weeks old. Celebrating Sunday’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord got me thinking that I should share some thoughts on why we choose to baptize our children as soon as we can and the importance of early baptism.
Generally speaking, one doesn’t rush to do just about anything within the first few weeks after a major surgery and while on little sleep, but we do. I guess our thinking behind it lies in the idea that what’s right to be done cannot be done too soon. While we know that our children will be kept safe from the worst fate of eternal suffering should they die, the Church is pretty open on what will happen besides that. My husband and I believe all those under the age of reason will be welcomed into heaven should they leave this earth, and it is that belief that has helped us through many difficult times when, sadly, children in our extended family and our own daughter have passed away. But why risk it? We also know what the Church teaches about the other forms of baptism, and we fully desire that our children be baptized, so I assume we’re covered on that too. But again, why risk it? The simple fact is that baptism is a sacrament and, just like every other sacrament, it opens us more fully to God’s grace and draws us ever closer to Him. Whether our children are able to understand it or not, we want that openness for them.
There is one other reason why we baptize “so” early. It’s how my husband and I can begin fulfilling our parental duty, plain and simple. When a baby wakes up crying we immediately attempt to take care of her needs to the best of our ability. We don’t wait around until we are dressed or feeling up to it. We all agree that would be unconscionable and yet how many parents wait for months before bringing baby to church? In my mind, her spiritual well being is far more important than her physical state and so I want to help her keep her soul be as clean as possible for as long as possible.
Maybe it’s being a little bit over protective. Maybe it’s just being paranoid. Whatever the reason, knowing we’ve had our children baptized puts us a little more at ease toting them around this crazy world. I think if more people understood the peace of mind that comes from knowing one’s child is completely full of Sanctifying grace, more people would be rushing to the font, as it were.