We sat in Father Leo's office for the meeting the children would have with him before they would receive the holy sacrament of baptism. I approached this meeting with something like fear and trembling. I didn't know what to expect. I certainly didn't feel like I'd done a great job in preparing them. They know the basics. They love Jesus. They can make the sign of the cross. They make it through the Divine Liturgy Sunday after Sunday without much protest, and I always get compliments for how well behaved they are. They even stop to venerate the icons.
So, there we are, in Father Leo's office, and I have no idea what he's going to ask or tell them. All that nervousness was for nothing, however. Father Leo is a delighful man, and he has a way with not just kids, but everybody. He told them that baptism was a grace. We don't have to earn the right to be baptised. That blessed me. He talked with them about where they would begin--at the door of the church. He told them what they'd wear, and that he'd gotten a big tub just for them. And then came the fun part.
Abeje, my 14 year old incredibly particular daughter, had the misfortune of being seated right next to Father Leo. I should tell you that he is an amazing, loving man. The Avis priest is what he calls himself, and his motto: I try harder. He loves to hug and touch you when you chat. He's just a love bug like that, but my Abbie. She doesn't like to hug. Do not touch her. Stay out of her room. So, Abbie is next to him, and he's just loving on her, and everyone in my family is thinking about how much Abbie hates to be touched--unless she invites you to. But the child is poise and grace, and a really good sport. Finally, Father Leo tells them that they will be triple immersed.
One for the Father, and he takes Abbie's head and dips it down toward the table. Trust me, this was hilarious for us. With that dip he said, "Pachuump!"
And one for the Son, (head dip)
And one for the Holy Spirit (one more head dip, poor Abbie!)
All week long when we practised the questions they'll be asked in the rite, such as, "Do you reject Satan, and all his works, and all his servants, and all his pride? And their answering, "I do reject him!" We always ended up once all the questions were asked and answered with:
And then we laugh like crazy.
The service is Saturday. If you remember us, say a prayer for my children using their new Christian baptismal names:
Abbie is Maria, her patron saint, the Theotokos
Kamau is Gabriel, his patron saint, Gabriel the Archangel
Nia Grace is Frances, her patron saint, Francis of Assisi
and Aziza is Clare Bella, her patron saint, Clare of Assisi.
Pachump! Pachuump! Pachuump!
Have a great weekend. :-)