The Blessing of Holy Baptism
One of our readers sent in this moving account of a recent experience he had. I post it with his permission, but at his request, without his name.
You may already be aware that I am a physician in family practice with
obstetrics. Yesterday morning at 4:30, I got a frantic call from the labor room
telling me that a patient of mine was there. She was only 22 weeks (about 4 1/2
months) along, but she was having hard contractions and was completely dilated.
I rushed to the hospital and, to my dismay, confirmed that the nurse’s
assessment had been correct.
I explained to the mother that delivery was
imminent and, at this early stage, the chance of survival for the baby was
zero. I offered a brief, silent prayer, and then asked the only question that
really mattered: did she want the baby baptized? She said yes, because she
thought the baby’s father (who had not yet arrived from work at the moment)
would want that. When he arrived, I asked him the same question and he
confirmed that yes, they did want the baby baptized.
At about 6:30, the
mother delivered a little boy. Shortly thereafter, the chaplain arrived and
baptized the baby. The baby’s mother held him, wrapped in blankets, in her arms
as the chaplain poured water out of a Styrofoam cup and he received “the washing
of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” About two hours later, he
It was, to say the least, profoundly moving. Interestingly, my
understanding is that the parents do not even have a church home (although I
would guess that at least the father must have some kind of church background if
he wanted the baby baptized). Even
those who do not spend a great deal of time contemplating the blessings of the
sacrament will cling to the comfort it gives when no other comfort is
available. And it is, indeed, extremely comforting to know that this very
little lamb rests in the arms of the Good Shepherd. With All Saints’ Day just
around the corner, it is a great joy to know that this little saint (oh, how I
wish I could share his name!) also rejoices "with angels and archangels and all
the company of heaven."