The Christmas season ends with the
Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Jordan River in
his 30th year, administered by his cousin Saint John the
Baptist. The clouds were rent asunder,
the dove alighted upon Jesus and the voice of the heavenly Father could be
heard clearly: “This is my beloved Son in
whom I am well pleased.”(Mt. 3: 13-17)
The Baptism of Our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ summons all of us who have received the great gift and grace of
the Sacrament of Baptism to renew our own baptismal promises, (that were made for
most of us) by our parents and godparents. Listen and meditate on the profound but simple
words taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Sacrament of
“Holy Baptism is the
basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae
spiritualis ianua), and the door that gives access to the other sacraments.
Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become
members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her
mission: Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and the word.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #
Spiritually and supernaturally it all
started at the moment of our own baptism when the minister poured water on our forehead
and pronounced the words: “Name_____________
I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The graces were a deluge to say the
least. Listen to all that happened the day and moment of your Baptism!
Transformed into son of God, brother to Jesus Christ, intimate Friend of the
Holy Spirit, temple and icon of the Blessed Trinity—all of these personal
graces we receive in relationship to the Blessed Trinity when baptized.
However, more graces and gifts
descended in an invisible but very real way. The following are the many virtues
that our soul was imbued with in the moment of Baptism: the three theological
virtues of faith, hope, and charity; then the moral or cardinal virtues also:
justice, temperance, prudence, and fortitude.
And then, at the same time we received the seven gifts of the Holy
Spirit: Wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of
If that were not enough in the moment
of Baptism we became members of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ,
exorcised of the presence of the malignant enemy. With Baptism too we receive
the right and privilege to the many heavenly inspirations that comes from God’s
spirit and if we live out our baptismal promises one day eternal life is ours!
How generous the good God is!
Given that it all started spiritually
with Baptism we are called to live out our own baptism by renouncing the devil
and his seductions; also we are called to renounce the world and its
allurements as well as the base promptings of our lower nature that we call the
flesh. In a word, from Baptism we are all called to pursue a life of holiness,
calling to mind the words of Jesus who said:
“Be holy as your heavenly Father
is holy.” (Mt 5:48)
What then might be some concrete ways
that we can call to mind our baptism or the baptism of our family members and
live out with greater energy and intent the responsibilities that flow from the
great Sacrament of Baptism. We will
offer a five for your meditation, reflection as well as practical application
in your daily walk with the Lord Jesus who was baptized in the Jordan leaving
an example for us!
BAPTISM OF JESUS. Every year that we celebrate the Baptism of
Jesus and the priest in the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass blesses
the people with holy water we should renew our own baptismal commitment with
faith, fervor and commitment to renounce sin and follow Jesus with a determined
determination. We should strive to leave the dead leaven of sin and live in the
holiness of the light of Christ, who indeed is the Light of the world.
PARENTS AND CHILDREN’S BAPTISM. It could be a very powerful teaching and
catechetical moment for parents—especially for the little ones—to celebrate the
Baptism date of their child the same way they would celebrate their natural
birthday. Indeed, baptism is our second birth. Why not buy a cake and light the
candles—according to the number of years and celebrate the spiritual birth of
your child. However, this should all be done in the context of faith and
catechesis. Parents can use this moment to explain what Baptism is, what it
does to our soul and the responsibilities that flow from the Sacrament of
SIGN OF THE CROSS. Making the sign of the cross with both faith
and reverence can be an efficacious means by which our awareness of the
Sacrament of Baptism can be enhanced.
The great French, Carmelite mystic Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity’s
basic charism was a keen and acute awareness of the most Blessed Trinity living
in her soul through grace. Therefore, every time we make the sign of the
Trinity and say: “In the name of the
Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” we can call to mind our dignity from Baptism,
that we are sons of God the Father, a brother to Jesus Christ and a close
friend to the Holy Spirit. Indeed how
many sins would we avoid committing with our bodies—temples of the Blessed
Trinity—if we only were aware of our dignity and destiny. Not only are we
living icons of the Trinity starting at Baptism, but our eternal destiny is to
live in the bosom of the Blessed Trinity for all eternity!
HOLY WATER. Every Christian-Catholic
family should have holy water in their homes. Better yet, would be to have holy
water and a little holy water font in all bedrooms. Therefore, upon coming or
leaving every member of the family could bless himself with holy water for
protection against the evil spirits and for the grace to live according to the
dignity that flows from our Baptism. Holy water is a “holy” reminder of God in
PARENTS AND GODPARENTS RECALL AND LIVE YOUR
RESPONSIBILTIES! Godparents of a baptized child or adult represent a much more
extensive family--- that we belong to the Church which is the family of God.
Among the many roles of the godparents, let us highlight two primary roles: 1)
Prayer—Godparents should pray for their godchildren, hopefully every day at
least a Hail Mary, better yet a Rosary; 2) Good example—godparents are called
to live out the symbolism of the lighted candle—that is to say they are called
to radiate the light of good example in all they say and do. Good example has a
powerful influence on others; think of the example of Blessed Mother Teresa of
Calcutta as well as Saint Pope John Paul II—what burning torches in a world
immersed in the darkness of sin! Parents have a more extensive and serious role
and responsibility than the godparents.
True, parents must pray and give good example to their children, but they
must go way beyond these two roles. Parents also are called to educate their
children and in all aspects: character, human formation, the formation of the
mind, heart, will and soul. In a word, parents should form their children to be
excellent citizens of this world and future citizens of the king of heaven.
In conclusion let us call to mind our
great dignity and our great destiny; and it all starts at the moment we
received the Sacrament of Baptism. Dignity? We are temples of the most Blessed
Trinity once baptized. Destiny? Our end goal in life is to be united with the Blessed
Trinity forever in heaven. May Our Lady who is the Daughter of God the Father,
the Mother of God the Son and the mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit attain for
us the grace to live out to the fullest extent the Sacrament of Baptism in our