Thoughts, Musings, & Ramblings of a Catholic Housewife


Let Them Be Saints!

{I’ve been praying about this post and trying to write it in such a way to convey my feelings and what, I feel, is something very important, while remaining charitable.  I don’t want to offend anyone but I do want to make people think about their choices.  To really consider the implications of what, for many, are things that they don’t give much thought to.  If we are to be people of Christ, true & authentic Christians, then we are to live in the world but not be of the world.  We live our daily lives in the world, loving our neighbors & being the hands and feet of Christ to all we meet, without buying into the materialistic urges & idolatry that saturate this world.  We are to live our lives with an eternal mindset, keeping our focus on Heaven, because we know that this is not the end.  Not by any means.  With that in mind, I think it’s good to talk about Heaven and Hell.  It’s good to examine our lives and talk about how we can choose to be saints and how we can let our children be saints.}

It is dogma of the Catholic Church that original sin alone is enough to condemn a soul to hell & we all have the stain of original sin on our souls from conception.  Baptism is the only means of cleansing a soul from original sin.  Knowing this, as a parent who’s lost a pregnancy to miscarriage, this dogma could haunt me.  After-all, what does this mean for my son?  Could my son, my precious innocent son, who was guilty of no personal sin, really NOT be in Heaven?  Where would his soul be then?  For a long time, theologians speculated that all babies who die without being baptized and without committing any personal sin of their own (prior to the age of reason, which is around 7) did not go to Heaven (by virtue of being stained by original sin) or Hell (by virtue of being innocent of any personal sin).  They went to limbo (for lack of a better word).  Limbo is a state outside of the beatific vision and heavenly glory but also removed from torture and damnation.  It is a place of eternal natural happiness.  Some say limbo is on the absolute, outermost fringes of Hell because they are still absent from God, as God and sin can not co-exist.  However, nobody told us that our son was probably spending eternity in limbo.  Everyone seemed certain he was in Heaven.

Why was everyone so certain?  Why am I confident that our son is enjoying the beatific vision and being cradled by our Blessed Mother whenever I ask her to?  I am confident because I trust in the mercy of God and know that our desire for Victor to be baptized is enough.   The church teaches that the desire for baptismespecially in times when baptism isn’t possible (miscarriage, stillbirth, early loss, living someplace where baptism is unavailable, dying on the way to be baptized, etc.), is enough.  God knows that if we were given the chance, our boy would’ve been baptized.  He also knew that we weren’t going to have the chance to have our son baptized.  God is love.  He loves all of our children so much more than we ever could & will always take care of them.  We wanted to baptize our son.  We desired for that saving grace to be poured upon him and weren’t given the chance.  I trust that God absolutely knew our hearts, our desire, and our son was saved.

We trust the church’s teaching and in God’s love and mercy.  We trust that our desire was enough because desire is all we had, we had no other choice.  I don’t understand and my heart breaks for families who must trust that their desire was enough, not because they didn’t have another choice but because they delayed having their healthy babies baptized when they had the chance.  Parents put off baptizing their children for numerous reasons.  They can’t get everyone together, the grandparents, the godparents, etc until baby is older – perhaps even a year old or more.  The space they want to rent for the after-party isn’t available until 6 months down the line (or the caterer/dj/whatever).  They’re just busy with life, caring for a newborn, perhaps caring for other children, and just don’t get around to scheduling it.  Perhaps, one parent doesn’t want their child baptized.  I can’t imagine the pain of suddenly losing your child coupled with the knowledge that they hadn’t been baptized.  I am thankful that a desire for baptism is enough to save a child and I pray that every unbaptized child, who is innocent of personal sin, had someone who desired baptism for them.  I imagine most parents wouldn’t put off baptism if they knew their child only had a few months to live.  {These scenarios are different from the cases where parishes or priests make it difficult for parents to get their children baptized quickly.  Perhaps they don’t allow parents to attend prep classes before the baby is born, or don’t offer a varied schedule of prep classes to make it easier for parents to find a class that works with their schedule.  They have one Sunday every 3 or 4 months where all the babies (who’s parents have gone through prep) are baptized.  You could have a long wait in a parish like that, depending on the prep class schedule and when your baby is born.  While you could argue that parents in situations like these could just go seek out a different parish for their child’s baptism, that isn’t really appropriate.  A child should be baptized in their family’s parish, where they will regularly attend Mass.  To be honest, if we were in a situation like that I would seriously consider just baptizing our child at home, myself (or having my husband baptize them).  It might be illicit but it would be valid.}

I recently involved in a discussion of when to schedule a baptism.  The question was whether the family should wait to have their baby baptized until they would be able to travel home to their family, as they felt it was too much to ask their families to travel to them for the baptism, or not.  I voted for not waiting.  I said their family *should* understand.  Not long ago (i.e. less than 50 years) parents would never dream of waiting for their children to be baptized.  They understood the great importance of this Sacrament in their child’s life.  I’ve heard of babies being baptized mere HOURS after birth – and not because they were in danger of death but because their parents knew this was an absolutely vital Sacrament.  Fathers would take their babies to be baptized without their wives (aka baby mamas), if they weren’t recuperated enough to journey to church.  If parents understood the great importance of this Sacrament so much that a mother would not delay her baby’s baptism so that she could attend, then why are we delaying so that extended family, godparents, and other friends can be present?

Baptism is our birth into the body of Christ and is the only means of removing original sin, making our souls absolutely pure.  Hence, the white baptismal garment is put on AFTER baptism.  Once you are baptized and up until you are guilty of any personal sin, you are a saint.  You are HOLY.  If you happen to die in a state of grace, free from all sin and the stain of sin, if you are a saint when you die then you go straight to Heaven.  No layover in Purgatory.  When we are baptized, we receive graces from Christ – these graces are what wash us clean & will help us throughout our lives as we strive to remain close to Christ.  Our souls are marked for Christ.  Considering all the graces that come with Baptism, I simply don’t understand putting it off.  You wouldn’t dream of putting off the baptism of a baby who is a preemie or very sick at birth, would you?  No.  {In cases where someone is in danger of death, ANYONE can baptize.  So, parents, if your baby is a preemie or very sick at birth – sprinkle water on them and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!  It counts!}  So, why put off your healthy baby’s baptism?

I’m obviously questioning the logic of putting off baptism and encouraging you not to.  So, what if you have an excuse, a reason to put off your child’s baptism?

What do you do if your spouse does not wish to have your child baptized?  Well, you probably knew this might be an issue when you married them.  If it wasn’t likely to be an issue at that time, then you probably saw signs that it could be an issue as your marriage progressed (maybe one of you converted/reverted to the church, or fell away from the church, etc.)  Unequal yokes suck.  Sorry about that.  Pray for your spouse and go get your kid baptized.  The church says that only one parent needs to consent to the baptism of a child.  If your spouse didn’t bother to use a seat belt would you consent to not buckling your child into their car seat?  I’m gonna say no.  You wouldn’t let your spouse’s quirks put your child’s physical safety in danger, don’t let them put their soul in danger, either.  (You could have a small, very private baptism, even in secret from your spouse (although you would eventually need to tell them), if you really aren’t ready to fight the fight over having your child baptized.  Talk to you parish priest about your situation & pray for the Holy Spirit to turn your spouse’s heart & mind.)

What about planning the party?  Well, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn about your party and you really shouldn’t either.  If you have extended family with wild and crazy expectations about the party then let them put it together, but don’t put off baptism in order to have the perfect party.  (Think about this – especially if people aren’t able to be there for the baptism, you could throw a party later on to celebrate with them when they can travel in.  Godparents could pray over the baby, you could look through photos, and enjoy each other’s company.)  Sacraments are these amazing and powerful vehicles of grace.  They are tremendous gifts that God has given us.  Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Weddings, Holy Orders…they aren’t about the party (I didn’t mention Anointing of the Sick or Confession because we don’t tend to make a hoopla out of receiving them).  All of our Sacraments are about the life-changing & saving grace that is given to the persons receiving them.  By the way, it isn’t just Baptism that is lost to the idea of the party.  Truly, First Communions (which aren’t any more important than your second or third or thirty-thousandth communion – you’re are receiving the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ EVERY time), Confirmations, and Marriage are all sacraments that can easily be overshadowed by the party that usually comes with them.)

Finally, what do you do if your child’s godparents need to travel in for the baptism and can’t make it until baby is a few months old (or older)?  Did you know that you can use PROXY godparents?  You can!  You can have people stand in for your chosen godparents, if they aren’t able to attend.  Perhaps it isn’t ideal but it doesn’t negate who your child’s godparents are or release your child’s godparents from the spiritual responsibility of being a godparent (after-all, the proxies make this promise & accept the responsibility on the godparents’ behalf).  Isn’t the grace and the saving work of baptism more important than having everyone in attendance?  Surely your child’s godparents would understand.

I am begging you, PLEASE don’t put off your baby’s baptism.  The Church even says that baptism is so important that parents should not delay getting their children baptized.  No reason is good enough – not waiting on everyone to be there or planning the perfect party or anything.  After-all, the Church even says that you don’t have to wait for a priest to baptize your child in cases where death may be likely.  Please, get your babies baptized as soon as possible!  Claim them for Christ, cleanse them of original sin, and have those graces poured over them.  Let them be saints for as long as possible.


What about our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters, who don’t practice infant baptism?

In thinking about and preparing for this post, I put out a request to non-Catholic Christians for information about what they believe regarding baptism.  I knew that some denominations baptized infants while others do not.  I was wondering why, if they understand baptism the same way that we understand it, why wouldn’t they baptize all their babies immediately?  Why not save them as soon as they could?  After all, Christ’s death redeemed all of mankind making it possible for us to be saved.  Salvation is the work and acceptance of redemption.  Baptism is the gateway of salvation.  What I learned in asking my non-Catholic Christian friends about their beliefs on baptism astonished me.  Many denominations don’t practice infant baptism because they believe it is a public display of the believer’s personal choice to have a committed and personal relationship with Jesus or an outward sign of what God is doing inside the believer.  While many do believe baptism cleanses the baptized of sin, they don’t necessarily believe that baptism is needed for salvation.  I never understood why they didn’t practice infant baptism until I understood that they have a totally different understanding of baptism.  Obviously, if they don’t believe that baptism is needed for salvation, or that it is only a symbol of a believer’s choice to claim Christ, to lead a committed & dedicated Christian life then they would see no need to baptize their babies or small children.  It makes sense, now, why they would wait until a person was old enough to make that decision for themselves.  However, their babies are still stained by original sin and that alone is still enough to keep their children out of Heaven.  Would a loving and merciful God allow such a thing to happen?  If a family is being faithful to Him, striving to live out the truth as they know & understand it, would He allow their babies to be denied Heaven, should they die prior to baptism?  I don’t know.  I pray the answer is no.  We are bound by the Sacraments but God is not.  He’s God.  He can do what He wills.  I think that every non-Catholic Christian that I know, who doesn’t doesn’t practice infant baptism, are good Christians who are trying very hard to live holy and authentic, Christian lives.  God knows their hearts & their sincere desire for their children to be saved.  I would surmise that, if they believed what I believe and the Catholic church (along with some other non-Catholic  Christian denominations) teach about baptism, they would greatly desire it for their children and would not delay in having their children baptized.  I would also surmise that, even if they believe that baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, or that baptism is a choice that must be made by the person being baptized, they would still desire that all of their children are baptized because they would desire that all of their children claim a personal relationship with Jesus.  (I am also praying that the Holy Spirit will move in them and show them power and grace of baptism and they will become open to baptizing their babies.)

What about our non-Christian brothers and sisters?

I recently read a blog post by a deacon about desire and baptism and how our Rite of Baptism supports our teaching that the desire for baptism is enough to save a soul.  He mentioned that the one being, aside from a child’s parents, who has a vested interest in that child’s spiritual well being is their guardian angel.  Every child is assigned a guardian angel, who is tasked with watching over that child, helping them, praying for them, and guiding them to Christ.  It doesn’t matter what the child’s parents choose to believe or not.  EVERY child is given a guardian angel who stays with them throughout their life.  (It doesn’t matter what their parents believe or what they grow up to believe – their guardian angel will stay with them throughout their earthly life.)  The deacon mentioned that perhaps the desire of a guardian angel for their charge to be baptized would also be enough to save that soul, should they die prior to committing any personal sin.  I’d never thought of that before but it gives me such hope for the innocent children of my friends who are not believers.  It also gives me great hope for all of the babies who are victims of abortion.  I’ve also started to pray for these innocent souls, hoping that God may see my desire for them to be saved, and it may be enough.


Let us remember to pray for all the unbaptized, no matter their age, that their hearts are turned to Christ and that the desire for baptism grows in them or their parents.  May they all answer God’s call to come home to Him.  May we all be together with our Father, in Heaven, basking in His glory.


The day our daughter was baptized and became a saint.