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Summary: Your child is beginning a journey that will end in the arms of the Father: here's what you must do as mission controllers to help ensure a good ending.

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Homily for Infant Baptism

Today is a very special time in your families’ lives. Today is the day in which I, acting as a minister of Jesus Christ, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, launch your child into a trajectory that, many years from now, should land him/her in the arms of the Father. Today your child is adopted by God, and today your child becomes a member of His Church, the Body of Christ. But I am just like the launch pad. You, the mission controllers, the parents, have to provide some things that will be needed on this blessed journey.

Let me give you three pieces of advice that families find helpful.

First, become a family of prayer. Yes, pray thanks before meals, but let prayer infiltrate your whole day. Communicate constantly with God. The best suggestion I can make concerns the start of your baby’s day. You don’t need an alarm clock any more, do you? Well, when you are up at the crack of dawn, and diapering your baby, instead of muttering words like “coffee,” try a prayer that you can memorize right now. It’s short, psalm 117, from right in the middle of the Bible.

Praise the Lord all you nations; glorify Him all you peoples.

Steadfast is His loving kindness toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

Now if your child hears that as the first words of the day for the first two or so years of life, won’t he get the idea that the first thing we do every day is give praise to God? And what would it do if every child all over the world had that as the beginning of the day?

Become a family of prayer.

Second, let me observe that you now have in your home the most efficient, effective video recorder in the world. They don’t miss a thing, do they? Your children will learn what is right and wrong from what you do, more than what you say. So, to be blunt, “clean up your act.” Your kids will be just as ethical or unethical as you are. If you don’t know the rules, get a copy of the Compendium of the Catechism, to remind yourself of them. But clean up your act for your child’s sake.

The last thing I would suggest for this long journey is to provide companions for the trip. A generation or two ago families would do that by having eight or more children. That’s a wonderful, but rare thing today. Let me suggest an alternative. My parents adopted me when I was ten days old, and I will ever be grateful for that. Their friends told me that they always intended to adopt more children. I must have been a handful, because I was it–an only child. But they did something that was almost as good as having a large family. They put me in Catholic schools for twelve years. That’s how they provided me with an environment of faith, and faithful companions.

So I counsel you now to do just three things to help your child prosper during this long spiritual journey–become a family of prayer, clean up your act, and give him companions for the trip.


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