Personal Pet peeves; beware, over exaggerated rant about to follow (but hopefully it will lead to something constructive)
So, you are a company that makes and sells Baptismal gowns for infants; gowns designated for this one special event, this one specific rite. It won’t be used ever again, it is custom designed for that event. Now, would it not be right to presume that the person who designs Baptismal garments has a working knowledge of the Baptismal Rite, that they have read the rite and seen it celebrated? You would think that they would know about the various anointings and prayers? Remember, this vestment is intentionally designed for this one purpose.
So why would you design a gown like this:
If you know that the baby will be anointed on the chest?
Why would design a gown for Baptism that forces a priest to do something like this:
Every time I do a Baptism the parents and I end up trying to undo knots and buttons just so that we can pull the front the vestment down just so that I can barely dab the chest with the oil of Catechumens. Last time the baby had a one's underneath which made it literally impossible.
Sometime I wonder if I even got any oil on the infant at all.
Adapting a phrase from Mc Dundie; “That’s not an anointing, THIS is an anointing!”
Here we see in this image an anointing of the baby in the Eastern Rite Church. In the Eastern Rite they strip the Baby down, the priest holds the him/her, and oil is placed in the God Mother’s hands so that she can cover their entire body with the oil of Catechumens. THE ENTIRE BODY! Not a faint smear that leaves everyone wondering why the priest was touching the baby’s chest.
This however, leads me to a related pet peeve; the minimalist approach of some priests, faithful, and the Roman rite in general with regard to the symbols of the sacraments. I mean, the way that some priests use the oils of anointing makes one think that we are in olive oil shortage, or that we are so impoverished that we can’t afford olive oil. I mean, shouldn't anointing look more like this:
And it’s not only with regard to oil but also to water. In Baptism we barely get them wet and no one does immersions any more. When we come into the Church we remind ourselves of our Baptism by "dabbing" ourselves with water. I wonder if it would not be more significant with we did something like this:
WAKE UP! you're a Christian!Aren't we supposed to be reminding ourselves of our Baptism; that profound promise we made to God to radically turn away from sin and strive for virtue? I think sometimes we're just a little too reserved with regard to these things.
No wonder the latest theme I keep hearing from the faithful is “we just want a simple ceremony.” Just a simple Baptism, wedding, funeral, ect. . . Have we forgotten how to celebrate? Have we forgotten how to waste time with God and with others? Always in a hurry, always trying to get in and out.
To be fair, there is always a need to be balanced; to remember that the “size of the symbol” does not affect the efficacy of the sacrament; that God’s grace is present whether it is a dab of oil or three gallons of olive oil. However, it should be proportionate to our means and resources. A minimalist approach to the sacraments can also be an expression of our minimalist approach to God, where we have raised the priority of efficiency over the value of being lavish in our response God. The length of the celebration should not be overly burdensome which means it needs to be thought out and the people of God forewarned and instructed concerning the meaning of the symbols. Inconvenience, however, should never be the overriding determination.
And please; whoever is buying, selling, and making those Baptismal garments; please go back to the drawing board.
End of rant.