1636: The Cardinal Virtues – Snippet 30

“I welcome you to this solemn occasion,” he said. “Beloved in the Lord, when the Savior sent out his Apostles, he said unto them, ‘Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Through baptism men are cleansed from their sins, made partakers in the meritorious redemption of Jesus Christ, taken into the society of the faithful and into the Church of Christ, fitted to obtain a share in all the treasuries of grace, with the management and administration of which Christ has entrusted his church.

“Your Majesty,” he said, bowing to Anne, “it is an honor to receive you here in the sight of God, and to receive your son, a gift from God, the source of all life, who seeks to bestow His life upon him. What name do you give to this child?”

“Louis,” she said. “Louis Dieudonné — a gift from God.”

“What do you ask of God’s Church for Louis?”

“Baptism — the grace of Christ.”

“Louis,” the bishop said to the baby, and then looked directly at Anne. “Dost thou desire to obtain eternal life in the church of God through faith in Jesus Christ?

“He does,” she said.

“Who shall stand as godparents for this child?”

Katie stepped forward from her position to stand beside Achille.

“We will,” Achille said.

“Are you ready to help the parents of this child in their duty as Christian parents, in the sight of God and within the body of the Holy Catholic Church?”

Achille was ready to answer the second question, but Katie said, “We are ready.” It drew a sharp look from the knight of Malta, but he softened it to a mild wry smile.

The bishop dipped his right hand in the baptismal font and then stepped directly in front of Anne.

“The Lord himself has appointed baptism with water, accompanied by the invocation of the Trinity, to be the outward sign of the grace which is communicated through this blessed sacrament. It is thereby intimated that as the body is purified by water, so the soul is purified by this sacrament from whatever in it is displeasing to God.

“Now, the community of Christ welcomes this child with great joy,” he said. “The Lord Himself hath said: ‘This is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments, and that thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.'”

He drew a cross on little Louis’ forehead, and then as Anne unwrapped a bit of the swaddling, upon his breast. “Receive the sign of the holy cross, to remind thee that thou openly profess thy faith in Christ crucified, and glory not, save only in the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord; and to remind thee that thou love from thy heart Him who hath died on the cross for thee, and that as He bids thee thou shouldest take up thy cross and follow Him.”

Bishop Léonore leaned forward and breathed very softly on Louis’ face; the baby looked up at him smiling. “May the powers of darkness, which the divine Redeemer hath vanquished by his cross, retire before thee that thou mayest see to what hope, and to what an exceeding glorious inheritance among the saints, thou art called.”

Mazarin handed the bishop a small towel, with which he wiped his hands. Léonore then placed a small bit of salt on the tip of his right index finger and touched the baby’s tongue. Louis made a small frown.

“Louis,” the bishop said, “receive this salt as an emblem of wisdom; the Lord grant it thee unto everlasting life.” He then laid his hand on the baby’s forehead.

“O God, thou author of all wisdom, look graciously down on this thy servant Louis and preserve him ever in thy fear, which is the beginning of wisdom, through Christ our Lord. Amen.” He then touched Louis’ ears and mouth and said, “Ephphatha, that is, be opened. As the Savior gave the power of hearing and of speech to a man that was both deaf and dumb by the use of these words, and by touching his ears and tongue, so may he strengthen thee through his grace, that thou mayest be ready and willing to hear his words, and mayest joyfully proclaim his praise.

“Does Louis now and for all time renounce the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life?”

“He does,” Anne said.

Mazarin handed the bishop a small dish that had oil in it; he dipped his fingers in it and touched Louis’ breast and forehead.

“For the war against evil, and for the practice of good, thou needest strengthening through the grace of him who hath redeemed us from our sins. Therefore I anoint thee with the oil of salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.”

He then touched the edge of his stole to Louis’ cheek and said, “Louis, receive the white raiment of innocence. Preserve it pure and unspotted until the day of Jesus Christ, that thereby thou mayest enter into eternal life.

“In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I baptize thee Louis Dieudonné, the Gift of God.”

Anne wrapped the baby once more, then took the bishop’s ring and kissed it. He placed his hands over hers and smiled.

“Majesty,” he said. “I am in great fear of what might come next. I wish you would reconsider your course, and remain here, or accompany me to Chartres as my guest.”

“I wish I could accept your offer,” Anne answered. “But a prince who would stoop to killing his own brother would not scruple to kill a woman and child.” She looked up at Mazarin. “I am in safe hands.”

“My brother has offered to accompany you, I know. He has pledged his faith to Holy Mother Church, but I dispensed him from any duty he owes to my see so that he can go.”

“I am most appreciative, Your Grace.”

“I wish I could do more.”

“You have done a great deal already,” Anne answered. “I would only ask that you pray for us as well. All of us.” She glanced back at Katie. “We are in God’s hands now. All of France is in God’s hands.”

“Indeed, my Queen,” the bishop said. “But you always were.”

The last that Katie and the rest of the royal party saw of Château Baronville was of Bishop Léonore and the servants of the castle standing outside watching, as their carriage pulled away into the morning light. The duke of Uzès and the bishop stood a little apart from the others, and as they watched, Léonore made the sign of the Cross.