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Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Advent Baptism

Our 20th grandchild was baptized today. What a glorious celebration on the 4th Sunday of Advent when we turn our thoughts to Our Lady and her important role in salvation history. A mother, Mary, brought her Son into the world to save mankind from sin. Another mother, our daughter, brought her baby to the Church today to save her little soul from the doom inflicted on the the human race by Adam's sin.

Little Bianca cried through most of her baptism. She didn't like her christening hat and cried almost as soon as it was on her head. We took it off. She cried while her godmother held her as Father began the service. She cried when Father anointed her on the chest and she wailed when he poured the water over her head. Then all afternoon she was happy as a lark -- full of smiles and cooing up a storm. We all laughed and said the devil had been driven out of her.

but is that so fantastical a statement? Is it possible that being "full of grace" can have a real physical impact on someone?

Priests I know have related stories about the anointing of the sick, where an immediate change takes place in the injured or ill person. One priest described a doctor running down the hall to ask him what he did after he anointed an accident victim on his big toe, the only part of the man's body he could reach as the emergency room team worked on him. The physical improvement was immediate.

A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. But sometimes it gives other gifts as well. Today, I like to think it gave us an afternoon of baby smiles and happy little noises. Not too surprising, I think, for one who is surrounded by angels and filled with supernatural grace.

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