[Parents] In asking for Baptism for your child, you are undertaking the responsibilty of raising her / him in the faith, so that keeping God’s commandments, she / he may love the Lord and her / his neighbor as Christ taught us. Do you understand this responsibility?
[Godparents] are you ready to help the parents
of this child in their duty?
(Order of Baptism, #77 – 78)
The above questions are asked of parents and godparents of a child to be baptized. And readily (and naively) they always answer: “We are!”. Few people really understand this responsibility. Even as a pastor, I grow in the importance of my own Baptism responsibilities daily. Baptism is the 2nd most important moment in one’s entire life. The moment of our conception being the first and foremost important and our death, likely the third most important. That places Baptism in a very key place. It is through Baptism that we are spiritually reborn as a son or daughter of God. This rebirth has immense and eternal consequences upon our life. From the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ updated Guidelines for Baptismal Preparation, a few of those impacts are outlined below.
Impact of Baptism – Drawn from the National Directory for Catechesis:
- Baptism is (1) the foundation of the Christian life because it is the journey into Christ’s death and Resurrection, which is the foundation of our hope; (2) gives sanctifying grace, that is, God’s life; (3) gives them a new birth in which they become children of God, members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Spirit; (4) cleanses people from original sin and from all personal sins; (5) incorporates them into the life, practices and mission of the Church; and (6) imprints on their souls an indelible character that consecrates them for Christian worship and is necessary for salvation in the case of all those who have heard the Gospel and have been able to ask for this Sacrament (CCC 1257)
- Baptism bestows upon us a share in the Mission of Christ as king, priest, and prophet
- Baptism “symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christs’ death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as ‘a new creature’” (CCC 1214)
- Baptism is “the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit . . . and the door which gives access to the other sacraments” (CCC 1213)
- Baptism grants the faithful a “share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission” (CCC 1268)
- Baptism is the means by which “the Most Holy Trinity gives [to you and I] sanctifying grace, the grace of justification” (thus “the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its root in baptism”)
- “enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues”
- “giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit”
- “allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues” (CCC 1266)
- “Having become a member of the church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to ‘obey and to submit’ to the Church’s leaders, holding them in respect and affection” (CCC 1269)
A worthwhile theme for prayer this week would be to spend 5-10 minutes on each of these bullet points. How are you living the gift of your Baptism? How are you challenged by your Baptism? How are you responding to God through your Baptism? How are you developing the tremendous gift of Eternal son-ship & daughter-ship given and received freely through your Baptism each day?
Holy Family, rooted in the Life of Christ, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries