When the church celebrates the Baptism of Jesus, in the Jordan river, at 30 initiating His Public Ministry, and ending the Christmas Season, we should all call to mind "Our own Baptism" and praise and worship the Lord with humble and grateful hearts. Furthermore, most appropriate, should we call to mind all of the blessings that came from that day when the priest poured the water on your head and pronounced the life-transforming words: "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Your spiritual life all began in the golden, unrepeatable, sublime moment of time of your Baptism, which will have repercussions on you for all eternity!
Why not read and meditate on the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river (The first Luminous Mystery of the Rosary) found in Lk. 3: 21-22; bring into your own heart three fruits of this Biblical gem and then proceed to render thanks to God for these incredible blessings.
1. JESUS' HUMILITY. Being the Son of God, He submits Himself to the rite of Baptism by John the Baptist His cousin, who protested of his unworthiness--- not worthy to untie Jesus' sandal strap.
2. JESUS' PATIENCE. Jesus waits on line until it is His turn. What a lesson for us who are impatient in so many ways and circumstances!
3. TRINITY. A clear manifestation of the Trinity. The voice of the Father could be heard; the symbolic Presence of the Holy Spirit could be seen in the dove; Jesus Himself descends into the waters of the Jordan, thereby sanctifying all future waters that would be used for Baptism!
Now let us make the transition form Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan river to your and to my Baptism! Below is a list of graces that you can transform into a Litany of praise and thanksgiving!
1. FREEDOM FROM ORIGINAL SIN. All of us, being sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, inherit Original Sin. Baptism washes it clean! New start! Clean slate! Baptismal innocence!
2. SON/DAUGHTER OF GOD THE FATHER. How sublime and unmerited: through Baptism God the Father has adopted us as His beloved son/daughter! What dignity that we are truly a son/daughter of God the Father!
3. BROTHER/SISTER TO JESUS CHRIST. Through Baptism, Jesus becomes our elder Brother. If anyone ever asks you if you have an older brother, your response should be immediate: "Yes! Jesus is my older brother. What great company!
4. INTIMATE FRIEND: THE HOLY SPIRIT. Through Baptism, the Holy Spirit becomes your "Interior Friend". In the Sequence prayer for Pentecost one of the poetic expressions is that the Holy Spirit is "The Sweet Guest of the Soul". You are never alone! In grace, your Best Friend is waiting for your attention, conversation and love!
5. INDWELLING OF THE HOLY TRINITY. This means that from the moment of Baptism, you are transformed into a living icon, temple, sanctuary, tabernacle, castle, of the most Glorious BLESSED TRINITY! The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit have their abode within your heart! How ineffable--- beyond words for expression!
6. THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES (3) FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY. With Baptism more gifts, the theological virtues. Faith---- belief in God! Hope--- Trust in His loving Providential care! Charity--- infused love for God and neighbor! All free of charge!
7. MORAL/CARDINAL VIRTUES. Justice, Temperance, Prudence, and Fortitude. These moral virtues are infused in our soul in the moment of Baptism enabling us to practice virtue and live holy lives!
8. THE 7 GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding , Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. Our little boat needs sails and wind. The wind is the Holy Spirit and the opened sails to catch the wind are the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit which should land us at the shore of salvation. These are powerful gifts to aid us to navigate through the storms of life and save our souls!
9. FREEDOM FROM THE DEVIL. One of the Rites administered in Baptism is the Rite of exorcism, in which the chest of the child is anointed with a special oil and prayers offered for liberation and freedom from the devil. Jesus came to set the captives free! Baptism introduces us to the freedom of the sons and daughters of God! True freedom is freedom at the service of God!
10. NEW FAMILY! With Baptism, we enter into a new family-- the Roman Catholic Church. Jesus becomes our elder brother and we are all through Baptism transformed into family members, with God as our Father. This family consist of our brothers and sisters detained in Purgatory (Church Suffering); our brothers and sisters rejoicing in heaven(Church Triumphant); and our brothers and sisters struggling on earth. (Church Militant). The binding force is charity--- supernatural love for God and love for neighbor!
Conclusion! Baptism is merely the start, but with it comes a serious commitment to renounce the devil and all of his seductions, to renounce and fight against sin in all forms and finally, to make a determined determination to become a saint by striving to imitate the "The King of all saints" Jesus, the Holy of Holies! May our Lady, Mary most holy, intercede for us to live out fully our baptismal commitment and one day be worthy to merit the crown of glory in heaven! Mary, Mother of God and Queen of angels and saints, pray for us!