Heaven On Earth

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Henry was baptized last week. It was a beautiful, simple affair early Saturday morning at our parish church.

Highlights included songs with two of my brothers on guitar; the best man from our wedding, who is now a priest, baptizing Henry; good friends who will be wonderful, faithful godparents; and my precious boys behaving perfectly, including taking turns holding the Baptismal candle and resisting the urge to light things on fire.

Perfection.

I’ll admit that baptisms have never been terribly emotional for me. I understand and fully appreciate that this is probably the most important day in a person’s life, but when it comes to my own child being baptized, I tend to take on a pragmatic attitude – let’s get the job done.

I think, in the past, part of that has been due to the age of the baby which, coincidentally, is always the exact same number of days it’s been since I’ve given birth. That generally correlates closely with the number of hours I’m sleeping each night, which tends to be a fairly paltry sum.

Basically, I’m a bit of a zombie. And I’ve got the pictures to prove it.

This time, however, I felt more awake and on top of things. I felt more with it. Henry was slightly older for his baptism than his brothers had been for theirs, and it’s not that I recommend waiting, but I certainly enjoyed the benefit of having a baby who is now sleeping more than a few hours at a stretch. My senses seemed (slightly) more capable and appreciative of the joyous moment.

During the baptism, as he put the chrism on Henry, Fr. Tim told us that this special oil is often referred to as the Perfume of the Holy Spirit. It is certainly a beautiful aroma – tell any Catholic your child was just baptized and she will instinctively smell your baby’s forehead. But I had never heard it referred to as a perfume. How perfect – I love the thought of arriving in heaven to the overwhelming scent of chrism, the Holy Spirit ushering me in to the glory of the Lord.

Every time I would smell Henry’s head over the next day, I had that thought – the perfume. Heaven is going to be so much more glorious than I can even imagine.

When I was a child, I was very afraid of the notion of eternity. There are times still when the thought of being somewhere forever, with no end in sight, is very scary for me to ponder. My human brain, so used to the limitations of time, relies on those constraints. I can’t live in a place where there is no end, I think.

And then I smell that chrism, and I think that if that’s one tiny aspect of the glory of Heaven, then I know it’s so much more, so much better, than my meager human imagination can conjure. Heaven is filled with every good thing from Earth, times about a thousand.

And I’m reminded that Henry’s journey, his baptism in Christ, is the first step in the joy of returning to that place – our destiny. He has miles to go, to be sure; and it is Paul and my duty as his parents to make sure he gets good formation to stay on the right path. Part of what we agreed, last week at his baptism, is that we are committed to doing just that – we promise that we will teach Henry and all our boys to know, love and serve Jesus, so they can be with him in this life and for all eternity.

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File Under: Baby, Newborn Variety

Heading out the door to an anniversary party for friends and I’m totally tempted to just wear the clothes with the spit-up and pretend it happened on the way.

Preppy Little 8-Week-Old Snoozer

A Distinct Possibility

Charlie: What were Henry’s first words?

Me: He hasn’t said them yet.

Charlie: Maybe it’ll be “goo-goo-ga-ga.”

Elliott: That’s not a real word.

Charlie: Then maybe he’ll look at us and say “simmah down nah.”