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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Emergent Infant Baptism

Emergency Infant Baptism

I recently baptized an infant before he died, and the experience made me pull up some of the teachings of the Catholic Church on infant baptism to review in the event anyone questioned me on this incident.

First of all, I asked for the permission of the infant's father beforehand. I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with him shortly before it was obvious that the child would not survive.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church can be accessed online at this website. It has a search engine attached to it, so one can browse the whole document and dive into the text at will.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church(from here on referred to as CCC) discusses baptism in paragraphs 1213 to 1284. The word baptize comes from the Greek word baptizein, which means to "plunge" or "immerse"; the "plunge" into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as "a new creature." (CCC 1214)

The CCC gives several examples of the prefigurement of the sacrament of Baptism found in the Old Testament. Noah and the Ark show life starting over after washing away sin, and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea prefigure the liberation from the slavery of sin through baptism. Later, the baptism is prefigured when the Israelites cross over the Jordan to enter the promised land; entering the promised land is symbolic of entry into Heaven. (CCC 1217-1222; they write it far better than I do)

I recall reading somewhere that St. John the Baptist, when he was baptizing in the River Jordan, was baptizing on the 'far' side of the river, so that those who were baptized had to cross back over the Jordan, just as the Israelites did in the Old Testament. This brings up the most important reason for baptism: Jesus Himself insisted on it before starting his ministry.

Baptism of infants is brought up in paragraphs 1250 to 1252, and the main sentences which motivated me are highlighted below. I saw a chance to bring this infant to become a child of God, and I did not think anyone would be able to get to the child before he died.

1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.

1251 Christian parents will recognize that this practice also accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them.

1252 The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole "households" received baptism, infants may also have been baptized.

How to Baptize:

There are two things needed for the sacrament: one is water to pour over the head(preferably) of the patient; the other is to say the words of baptism while pouring the water three times over the head of the patient. The words of baptism are:
"N., I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

When I realized that things were going downhill fast, I turned to one of the nurse anesthetists (CRNA) who was working with me, and asked her to get me some water from the scrub sink. She pointed to a small bowl of water on top of the anesthesia cart. "I got you covered, Doc," she said.

As a footnote, by some miracle, we were able to get this child back to his mother and father, and they were able to hold their son as he died. It was heartwrenching and difficult to talk to the young couple, but I did manage to tell them that their son had been baptized. The experience brought back a flood of memories of losing Theodore, and the desolation which accompanied that loss. The pained expression I saw on the face of this young couple reminded me of the way Carolyn looked after Theodore died.

This post is also published on the following blogs:

Catholic Physicians Blog

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday the Queen Returns

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation needs a fresh coat of paint:

She returns this evening....

My confessor remarked that all children are a cross to their parents, but that it was through the cross that we obtain our salvation. Food for thought at the beginning of another week.

My confessor also reminded me that there are only three reasons to do anything:

1. For the greater glory of God(AMDG, or Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam),
2. For the conversion of sinners, and
3. For the intentions of the immaculate heart of Mary.

After Mass, Father anointed a woman who was ill, and it brought back memories of him anointing Theodore. I thanked him later for all that he has done for our family; giving Theodore the anointing of the sick was just one way we were blessed.

When we got home, I read a book to one of the kids while the others played baseball on the newly mowed back yard. After reading a children's book from John Deere, I got back into Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I was getting to the end, where the climactic battle between the evil empire and the cute and cuddly furry forest people starts. Suddenly the kids called me outside; I figured someone broke a leg. Instead, they showed me an aircraft carrying the space shuttle that was circling over Dallas. I pulled out my iPhone to videotape it, but realized I had not started the 'video' function. You will have to trust me that it happened. I think it might be good to skip mentioning that I saw Bigfoot and the Yeti at the controls of the aircraft.

I went back inside, only to be called out again to examine a snake. It appeared harmless, and wasn't even exciting to our sole remaining cat. I tried to get some action shots, but the snake just wanted to play dead. I threw it into the garden so it could go on with its quiet country life.

Here the cat - 'Skinny' - looks at the poor little snake.
Here I am holding the snake for a close-up. It was not a lively snake. Last night we watched 'Swiss Family Robinson' and apparently the fight with snake mainly consisted of trying to get the snake to stay with the actors.

After reading a little, I took a couple of air rifles outside to shoot for a while. I made some videos of the little boys shooting, but I accidentally covered the microphone. Here is the one of me shooting an RWS Diana 300R, which is an underlever air rifle which can shoot seven pellets in rapid succession without having to reload.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Night Mortification

1. The First Pointless Video:

Let's start this bit of blog mortification with a video. I took a road trip with a few of my sons, and the Aardvark was our ride. Enjoy, with music by The Verve:

Remember, If you take care of the Aardvark, she will take care of you!

2. Writer's Block, or Cramps:

I have not written much lately; rather, I have been writing a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, none of it can be published, especially not here. Another reason to not write so much is that the 'official' home school year has started, and I am trying to become more than just the principal of our home school. This year I am going to be more active in the formation of my high school children.

This will certainly cut into the navel-gazing time which has produced some of the entries which you have had to read over the past three years.

I was blessed with a few days off, and I spent some of that time praying and writing in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This was a tremendous grace, and has become something which I have lately grown to cherish more and more. Perhaps one day I shall have the same kind of love for Our Lord as that of the old man from Ars, who used to sit in the chapel every day. St. Jean-Marie Vianney asked him what he was doing, and he replied,

"I just look at Him, and He looks back at me."

But that's not what I came to talk about here. Yesterday, I had to be stuck somewhere for about two hours, so I took along a book to write down some serious bad poetry. Three things had been rattling around in my creative writing part of the brain, and I wanted to try to pin them down on paper, like a monarch butterfly or some other large insect, for all the world to see. One of the ideas was about a line from Pope John Paul II's encyclical Familiaris Consortio which applies to the role of the family in the modern world. Another idea was inspired by the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the man who was part of the plot which brought that aircraft down over Lockerbie, Scotland; the poem would contrast the reception of the victims and the terrorist when they all returned to earth. The third idea had to do with an observation I made about social mobility in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Only one of these poems solidified enough to print, and here comes that mortification I warned you about. Of course, it is in the form of a 5-7-5 haiku:

Midlothian girls
desire metamorphosis
to Plano women


3. The Green Belt - The Wall

Taekwon Do has been neglected this summer, mainly because this is the busy season for a pediatric anesthesiologist. Elective procedures are scheduled for when school is off, and those children who aren't planning a trip to the hospital find another way to get admitted - usually doing something stupid, or something involving monkey bars. I have missed many classes this summer. Therefore, when I have been able to make it to class, I have noticed the instructor shaking his head as he watches me muddle through 'Do San.' Invariably, the other Black Belt instructors will end up running through the pattern with me. I sweat a lot.

What I really need is to practice more, and time has become too valuable a commodity for me to spend it on Taekwon Do. This has brought me to an impasse: if I am to go on with Taekwon Do, I have to make a commitment to spend more time learning the patterns, the sparring, and the self defense moves. What I need is to make that internal commitment to devote more time and effort to this activity. This man featured in the video below had to face this same problem, and he gives me some hope and inspiration:

....the second pointless video.

Of course, some of the Noisykids have no problem finding time to practice for Taekwon Do. In fact, they are forging ahead into areas I shall never reach:

Breathing is an integral part to martial arts, especially Taekwon Do, and that is why the children are using noisemakers to ensure that they exhale at the proper moment of each move.

4. You Jane, Me Amused!

I am really enjoying Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I am reading these books because my wife and daughters are into them, including watching the movie versions which are available on DVD. It appears as if there are more movie versions of Pride and Prejudice than there are of Beau Geste. I am enjoying the book so much that if we are blessed with another child, I want to name him or her after my favorite character. If we have a boy, I shall name him FitzWilliam Darcy; if we have a girl, I shall name her Darcy FitzWilliam.

I hope we have a girl, because then her initials would be the same as those of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex: DFW.

Alas, we are not with child at this moment. I beg of you to storm Heaven with prayers that He will bless us with more children.

Thank you and good night.

Give Peace, Lord

Give peace, O Lord, in our time
Because there is no one else
Who will fight for us
If not You, our God.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Guess Who Can Write His Name?

I saw this in the guest bathroom, next to the shower. It looks as if someone was practicing writing his name....

While I am at it, guess who is pregnant?


Sadly, Wifeofdadwithnoisykids is not the one expecting, but we are praying constantly for God to bless us with more children.

No, Michelle Duggar is pregnant, and while we are happy for them, the only thing which would make our joy greater would be if we were also expecting another child.

Meanwhile, some of our children are starting their own blogging careers, as evidenced by the picture above.

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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