Sons and Daughters of God
Baptism is one of the seven Sacraments that Jesus gave to the Church. These Sacraments draw us into union with Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit. The Sacrament of Baptism cleanses a person from all kinds of sin and gives a person the gift of sharing in God’s divine life. A person who is baptized becomes a member of God’s family. Through the grace of Baptism we encounter Christ and experience Christ’s presence in our daily life. We believe that God is with us in the Sacraments and through Baptism we enter into a new life with God.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells Nicodemus: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit (read John 3:5).” Jesus was speaking about Baptism; when a person is baptized, that person is reborn of water and the Holy Spirit. Here, Jesus affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation (read CCC 1257). He also commanded His disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them (read Matthew 28:19-20). Salvation means liberation from sin and eternal union with God in heaven.
Baptism is the first of the seven Sacraments; a person must first be baptized before receiving the other Sacraments. Each Sacrament has what is called a matter and a form. For example, the matter for Baptism is water, the form for Baptism are the words and actions of the minister performing the Baptism. The Rite of Baptism consists in immersing a person in water, or pouring water on the head of the person, while the minister says: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The action of immersion in water, or pouring of the water, represents the dying and rising to a new life in Christ.
The anointing with the holy oil signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to the newly baptized person. The wearing of the white garment represents putting on a new life in Christ. The baptismal candle is lighted from the Easter candle, and it is handed to the baptized person; this action represents the Light of Christ being given to the baptized person, so that the person may always walk in the Light of Christ.
- When does our life with God’s family begin?
- What does Salvation Mean?
- What does Baptism do to a person?
- What does the Rite of Baptism consist of?
- What do the holy oil, white garment and baptismal candle represent?