Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door that gives access to the other sacraments.

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1 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door that gives access to the other sacraments. Sacrament Sacraments are outward (visible) signs of an inward (invisible) grace instituted by Christ for our sanctification. A sacrament is a sign that we can observe with our senses of a grace or act that occurs inside of us that we cannot see or touch Fr Michael Roverse. Grace is the living and loving presence of God in us. This grace sanctifies us, transforms us to a life in Christ and unites us more perfectly to Jesus. Seven sacraments are categorized into three groups: Initiation Healing Service Baptism Confirmation Eucharist Reconciliation Anointing of the Sick Holy Orders Matrimony Example of Baptism Water is the sign. We can see it, feel it, touch it We all are familiar with the physical actions of water It washes, cleanses, purifies; it is also nourishing and life giving The spiritual action or grace that the water of Baptism accomplishes in us: We are cleansed of all sin; purified and made holy We are said to die with Jesus as we are submerged in the water but share in the resurrection of Jesus as we emerge from the water and are given a new life as children of God 1

2 We become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission Through baptism we are considered heirs to the Kingdom of God, we become part of a royal priesthood and sharers in the prophetic, priestly and kingly dignity of Christ. The Baptism of infants The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole "households" received baptism, infants may also have been baptized. Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the children of God Original Sin Newer thoughts in the Church Not as much the sin we are born with but the sin we are born into (The Sin of the World) Hard to deny that we are born with a propensity to sin Never a doctrine of Limbo in the Church Baptism as initiation into the community of faithful, the people of God the Church. Faith and Baptism Baptism is the sacrament of faith. In infant baptism the child is not able to come to baptism by his/her own faith and therefore relies on that faith that comes from the parents, godparents and the Church 2

3 The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: "What do you ask of God's Church?" The response is: "Faith!" For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. Vatican II: Domestic Church The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. The Grace of Baptism The two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit. Character Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated. The Rite of Baptism A priest or deacon is the normal celebrant of baptism. For a baptism to be considered valid: Water Trinitarian formula In the case of an emergency anyone can baptize. Symbols: Immersion or pouring Living water Oil Light/candle White garment 3

4 Sacrament of Baptism Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission The water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as "a new creature." Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. Those who die for the faith (Baptism of Blood), those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will (Baptism of Desire), can be saved even if they have not been baptized The Grace of Baptism The two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit. By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin There is sanctifying grace (the state of being in friendship with Christ, of being an adopted child of God, of having been redeemed from original sin). This is introduced into our lives at baptism, and it is increased, or deepened, through prayer, fidelity to God s will, 4

5 and the other sacraments. There is also sacramental grace, a specific strengthening or benefit unique to each sacrament. For example, the sacramental grace of confession is the forgiveness of personal sins and the strengthening of our will towards future fidelity. The sacramental grace of marriage is the marriage bond which helps both spouses grow in communion with God through living their communion with each other, etc. 5

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