Sunday, October 07, 2007
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Last night I had a dream that Hell was thinking about letting people out to run errands. They'd have to come back, but they could pick up their dry cleaning.
I have several hobbies. Patron saint matching, gardening and the world of dreams. I took a course about a hundred years ago in the Old Testament from a Jesuit priest at Loyola. When he was talking about the prophets he said that if you look at what any particular prophet said as relating a dream the prophet had, the whole prophet landscape makes a lot more sense.
He digressed into explaining that when researchers deprived people of sleep, people can go on for days before becoming psychotic, but when they are deprived of dreams, psychosis starts within a day or two. Whoever deprived these people of their sleep and dreams started by depriving cats of their sleep and dreams. I wouldn't want to be around that lab.
All cats do is sleep.
Anyhow, the whole situation caused me to do buckets of research on dreaming and, as a result, I can tell you exactly why I dreamed that Hell was mulling over letting people go buy some more printer ink and return. Except in the case of a recurring dream (which a whole other ball of wax), a dream is always about what happened to you on the day of the dream. That's because dreaming is your brain's way of defragmenting, like your computer, at night.
I dreamed about Hell's loophole because of all the reading I did yesterday on everyone's questions and comments about Baptism. Just like I think it is pretty clear that once you are in Hell you stay there, even if you need to have your tires rotated, I thought I was pretty clear about Baptism, which is a thing you'll need to stay out of Hell in the first place (unless you are under age seven, the only Baptism loophole of which I am aware.)
I've never told anyone this, but when my daughter (just turned 4 yesterday) was a newborn, she used to wake up crying and it would take a long time to get her back to sleep. Every night.
One night, perhaps because of sleep deprivation, I became afraid that something was seriously wrong with her and that we might lose her (this turned out to be incorrect, but with a crying baby in my arms in the middle of the night and I have to be at work alert in the morning, it didn't seem so unreasonable).
So I dipped my fingers in the Holy Water font next to the door and made the sign of the cross on her forehead and said "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Eventually, she learned how to sleep through the night and in due course, she was baptized in Church by a deacon who was a friend of ours.
Did I actually baptize her? Did I do something wrong?
It's so nice that you have a Holy Water font next to the door! What's on it? If ever I became a collector of something, I think it would be Holy Water fonts. We have a Mary one on the front door and a Guardian Angel on the back door. What was the question?
Yes, you did baptize her, because it was your intention to baptize her, you have a right to baptize her (you knew her mother wanted her baptized, too), you did it with water, you said the right words, you used her head (very important if the head is accessible), and you believed, before your sleep deprivation actually caused psychosis, that she might be in danger.
The mistake you made was not telling anyone. What should have happened is that you should have told the priest who baptized her at the ceremony that you already baptized her and he would have then performed the rest of the rite, minus the part you already did. Everyone's happy and then there's cake.
I'm sure you had cake anyhow.
Which brings up this comment:
My sister is a neo-natal nurse practitioner who works in a Catholic hospital. She says they are very careful about baptizing sick babies (without the presence of the parents) because if the baby gets better, the family can't have another baptism and most families want that ceremony.
You're sister is wrong. The family can still have the ceremony. I think the problem is that the nurses maybe don't want to scare the parents about how sick the baby is and if they baptized the baby, they'd have to tell the parents so that when the time comes the parents have a proper baptism that leaves out the first part that was already done.
Here's what I don't get about the neo natal nurses. If I'm a neo-natal nurse and a baby is sick and should be baptized, why don't I tell the parents and call the priest? Because if the baby is so sick that I think there is no time for the priest to make it across town, I better baptize that baby.
I guess it's a good thing I'm not a neo-natal nurse, running around scaring people and baptizing babies. I would have to show up at every baptism ceremony of every baby I baptized in the hospital and bring the cake, just to make up for scaring them so badly.
I've never baptized anyone, by the way, even in my dreams. Lay baptism is truly only for emergencies. You can't baptize even a very sick baby without parental consent, or adults without their own consent. You can't baptize an insane person who says he wants to be baptized if he told you while he was sane that he didn't want to be baptized, unless he gets sane again and still wants to be baptized and even then, YOU can't do it. You'll have to call the priest. You can't baptize anyone unless he is about to kick the bucket in the first place.
Here is my recurring dream, the recurring dream of a nun: something I had fixed is rotting. What do you suppose that means? It's not rocket science.