The Sacrament of Baptism

711. BAPTISM OF CLOVIS.-----Towards the end of the sixth century the whole of Gaul, or modern France, fell under the power of the Franks, who gave their name to the country. At that time they were under the command of King Clovis, who was yet a pagan, though he had married a virtuous Christian Princess named S. Clotildis. The latter labored earnestly and prayed continually for the conversion of her husband, who, though fierce and hasty like the race to which he belonged, was possessed of a noble disposition and generous heart. All her efforts, however, appeared unavailing. It happened at length that Clovis was on the point of marching forth to a decisive engagement with a neighboring nation, which had been for some time threatening his kingdom. Clotildis on this occasion renewed her entreaties, and exhorted her husband, if hard pressed by his enemies, to call on the God of the Christians, and promise to renounce the abominations of idolatry. He did so and was victorious, upon which he at once placed himself, along with his principal nobles, under the instructions of S. Remigius, the Archbishop of Rheims, to be prepared for the Sacrament of Baptism. The solemn festival of Christmas was chosen for the celebration of the sacred rite, and the King, laying aside his crown and royal robes, and covering himself with ashes, spent the intervening time in fervent prayer and works of penance. Meanwhile the neighboring Bishops assembled to assist at the sacred ceremony, and the cathedral was adorned for the occasion by the piety and liberality of S. Clotildis. The day having at length arrived, Clovis and his attendant nobles were Baptized with the greatest solemnity in presence of a countless multitude. On arriving at the sacred font, the holy Bishop, turning to the King, thus addressed him: "Bow down thy head with meekness, great Sicambrian Prince. Henceforth adore what thou burned, and burn what thou hast hitherto adored." He then conferred upon him the Sacrament of Baptism, which the King received with the deepest sentiments of humility and contrition.-----Butler  

  714. S. FRANCIS AND THE FONT.-----S. Francis of Sales would often lead his young companions to the parish church, and arrange them round the sacred font where in infancy they had been Baptized. "See," he would say, "this is the spot that should be dearer to us than any other, for here it was we were made children of God." Then they would say together the "Glory be to the Father" in thanksgiving for God's mercy, and, kissing the font on bended knee, disperse for their games.-----Life of S. Francis: Jan. 29

  715. LOUIS XV AND HIS CHILDREN.-----Religion makes no distinction between the rich and the poor; cleansed and regenerated by the same Sacrament, they have an equal right to the same favors, and he who is the most faithful to his Baptismal engagements is the greatest in the eyes of God. This is the lesson which the Dauphin, father of Louis XVI, one day inculcated on his children. Two of his sons had received only private Baptism at the time of their birth. At the age of seven or eight the sacred ceremonies were supplied. The Prince, their father, called for the Baptismal parochial register in which their names were inserted. On opening it, he pointed out to them the name which immediately preceded theirs.----it was the son of a very poor man. " . . . you see, children," remarked the father, "in the eyes of God all ranks and conditions are equal; He allows no distinction except that made by religion and virtue. One day you will be distinguished and powerful in the eyes of the world, and this boy will not even be known; but if he prove more virtuous than you, he will be greater and more illustrious in the eyes of God."-----Power

    717. A CHILD BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE.-----At Uzale a woman had an infant son; she so ardently desired to make him a good Christian, that she had him already inscribed on the roll of the catechumens. Unfortunately, he died before they had time to Baptize him; his mother was overwhelmed with grief, more for his being deprived of life eternal, than because he was dead to her. Full of confidence, nevertheless, she takes the dead child, and publicly carries it to the Church of S. Stephen, the first Martyr. There she commences praying for the son she had just lost. Whilst praying, and shedding bitter tears, her son moved, uttered a cry, and was suddenly restored to life. And because his mother had said, "Thou knowest why I ask him back," God was pleased to show that she spoke sincerely. She immediately brought him to the priests; he was Baptized, sanctified, anointed, hands were imposed upon him, and after thus receiving the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, he died anew. The pious mother, happy in having seen him regenerated in the waters of Baptism, took care not to lament his death; on the contrary, she followed him to the grave with a gay and smiling air, because she knew very well that he was not going into a cold sepulcher, but to dwell with the Angels in Heaven.-----S. Augustine