Infant Baptism

We baptize our baby in New Mexico this Sunday.  I am SO excited for the baptism.  We baptized our niece Eloise last summer and it made me really look forward to the day that we would stand together and bring our little baby boy into the Church.   
I want to share a bit of the reasoning behind why the catholic church baptizes infants, for those of you wondering why we baptize at such a young age.  A lot of people criticize the catholic church for baptizing infants before they have a “born again” experience, or rather, “accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.” For these, baptism follows but has no salvific value.  It is only after one has accepted the Lord into their heart that they are saved. 
The catholic church, since the time of the Apostles, has always understood  and taught baptism to be a Sacrament which accomplishes the remission of sin (both original and actual–though only original in the case of infants, since they’re incapable of actual sin).
In Acts, Peter calls all the faithful to repent and to be baptized in the name of Christ (Acts 2:38), but he does not restrict this to adults only.  He said: “For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.” (Acts 2:39).  
Scripture tells us that baptism and salvation are connected (1 Peter 3:21), hence the sacrament is vital for adults and infants alike.
Through baptism, we believe that we are “born again” in the Spirit.  We become once again united with God, as was his original intent.  We once again become his children, members of his Body, and members of his Church, and we also become born again into a state of grace.
This is what is so special and exciting about my son’s upcoming baptism.  I look forward to when we stand with our family and our priest and we trace the sign of the cross on my son’s head as the mark of his belonging to Christ.  I’m excited for this beginning in my son’s life–the beginning of the profession of faith which we will be making on his behalf now, and which he later, by the grace of God, will personally confirm himself. 
Thanks for reading!

Merry Life

This past advent season had me reflecting quite a bit more than it usually does.  I felt like this past year was the year that I would actually acknowledge that the Christmas season is much much more than just a season filled with spirit lifting Christmas music, pumpkin spice and eggnog flavored everything, and a time to load up on nice presents that would bring a smile to my family and friends faces.  My effort was put primarily into reading The Advent of Christ by Edward Sri.  This book was filled with daily scripture reflections meant to help prepare for Christmas.  Though I have to admit that I did not make it entirely to the end (allowing my own personal distractions to get the better of me), I have to say that it was a great way to keep my mind attune to what the Christmas season is really all about—i.e. Christ! 
One of the major things that has been on my mind (which you can tell from almost all of my posts and the name of this blog) is love.  While it may be that I am at a point in my life when I am overcome with love and happiness that has led me to think about it so much, I still think that love is always an important thing to discuss in depth.   

Christmas calls us to remember and celebrate the birth of the Christ child.  It is a time for us to reflect on the fact that God sent his only son to us, for the benefit of all mankind, and he sent him in the form of a sweet babe.  A baby!  This really is an incredible thing to think about.  Our Savior came into the world in the form of a tiny little baby.  Just. Like. Us.

This fact of course leads me, as a new mother, to reflect on the beauty that babies teach us in their innocence.  Daily I am learning what it means to put the self behind and to serve.  In our modern world, this of course sounds like an unappealing way to live.  I can see how being tired, unable to really have a whole lot of “me” time, and being quite stinky at times can sound unappealing, but I will also add that this is the most fulfilled I have ever felt in my life. 

It is a crazy thing to transition into—the fact that some little being relies on you for everything.  My son cannot feed himself, clothe himself, bathe himself, or change himself.  He needs me.  He needs his daddy.  He needs someone to be there for him to meet all of his needs.  Not only that, but he needs someone to care enough to love him and be patient while meeting those needs.

This is the message that Christ sends us throughout his whole mission:  “Love one another, as I have loved you.” 

It’s crazy that even in the Christmas season, the time we should be reflecting on the greatest moment in history, how we are being told even more so than any other time to serve ourselves.  Commercials are now littered with the message of treating yourself the way you think you deserve.  It’s like they are re-writing the Golden Rule!  Instead of focusing on loving others the way that we would like to be loved, society is now nixing the others and saying, “Just go ahead and love yourself! You know what you deserve!”

How sad.  How sad is it that we live in a world that promotes self-love over love-of-neighbor. 

I recently watched “Marvin’s Room” with Diane Keaton and the great Meryl Streep.  The movie was about a woman (Keaton) who had cancer, and in the end she learns that the disease is terminal.  Though she finds this out, she has the following conversation with her sister and is moved to tears:

 Bessie: Oh, Lee, I’ve been so lucky. I’ve been so lucky to have Dad and Ruth. I’ve had such love in my life. You know, I look back, and I’ve had such… such love.

Lee: They love you very much.

Bessie: No, that’s not what I mean. No, no… I mean that I love them. I’ve been so lucky to have been able to love someone so much.

While I was watching this, I was reminded again the beauty in dying to self.  It is in loving others that we find fulfillment.  I like to think that is Christ’s prize in the cracker-jack box that is his beautiful message.  It is the secret ellipsis in his message that our world will not experience until they embrace the first half: “Love others as you do yourself…and you will find happiness.  You will find peace.”

We cannot find true and lasting happiness in serving ourselves.  We must turn outward towards our families, neighbors and friends, and love.

Thanks for reading!