|My Friend, artist Helen Thomas Robson|
Quick Latin refresher: credo means "I believe.")
We've been baptizing babies left and right at our parish. Our pastor, Fr. L., is amazing and joyful. He also loves baptizing babies.
Last week, the little doll that got baptized thought Fr. L was nothing short of magnificent. The babe stared up at him as the baptismal waters were dumped on her precious head (Fr. L believes in liberal amounts of holy water.) When Father anointed her, she cooed and smiled. It was picture perfect.
Yesterday, Father didn't have the mojo, at least for this baby girl. From the moment Father stepped in front of her to trace the cross on her forehead, she starting wailing. Not just a tear - nope, full-on terror. By the time Father baptized her, she was wailing so hard, she was red in the face.
Father's homily yesterday focused on our friendship with Christ, and read a lovely section from Pope Emeritus on this topic. However, Father had to acknowledge that Jesus was a friend to the little one about to be baptized, but he (Fr. L) didn't think he was going to be considered her friend.
Just prior to the baptism, Father invited all of us to stand and renew our baptismal vows. For those who are not familiar with this, the priest (who is impressing upon on that not only are we all responsible for these as we journey through life, but also that we must set a good example for the newly baptized) asks the congregation a series of questions, which are answered with, "I do."
The questions aren't tricky. They start with, "Do you reject Satan and all his works?" Presumably, if you are sitting in church on a glorious spring day, you are probably going to answer in the affirmative.
Dear Husband and I had a family sitting behind us. The parents have four beautiful tween and teen girls, and a 4 year old son. We sit by them almost every Sunday, and this guy is doing a great job of behaving at Mass. (Not that he has any choice between Mom, Dad and four sisters who both adore and are annoyed by a brother.)
Little Brody was behind me as we were taking in the baptism ritual. We stood to express our creed, with Father asking the questions and eliciting, "I do" from all the baptized.
But not Brody. By the time we were all fairly shouting "I do" in response to Satan's evil ways, Brody needed to put in his two cents, "Well, I don't!" he said in a ringing voice.
His mother quickly clamped a hand over his mouth, horrified. I was greatly amused (but only because it wasn't my kid) and was clamping a hand over my own mouth, but I managed to catch Mom's eye, which got her giggling. And of course, then we had the "church giggles."
Yes, it was a fine day to baptize a baby! Hopefully, Brody got some sort of explanation as to why Mom found it necessary to nearly gag him at Mass, and the angel that got baptized will not grow up with a fear of priests.
It was joyful. It was funny. Jesus was there, welcoming all of us into friendship, and we responded. A blessed day.