Thank God for Baptism

Thank God for Baptism


You probably know the date of your birthday, right? (I'd be a bit worried if you didn't.) Do you know the date of your second birth?

This past Sunday we witnessed the second birth of our youngest child, our daughter Rose. I'm talking, of course, about her baptism.

I received a very special grace during Rose's baptism. She's our 4th child, so this wasn't exactly our first rodeo, as they say. But I was deeply, deeply touched by the magnitude of the experience. From the start of the service I was acutely aware of the seriousness of what was happening. I held our little girl in my hands, gazing upon her beautiful sleeping face, overwhelmed with joy at what was about to happen to her. As we approached the baptismal font I was in total awe, and if I am to be honest with you, there were happy tears in my eyes.

She was about to receive the greatest gift anyone could ever get.

St. Gregory of Nanzianzus puts it like this:

"Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift.... We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship."

So much is wrapped up in baptism! It is the effect of Christ's death and resurrection infused into our lives, transforming us into a new creation. It wins us adoption as true sons and daughters of the Father. It bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, so powerfully that Christians in the early Church would kneel around the newly baptized person, adoring God's presence in him. 

We should thank God often for our baptism.

Pope Francis recently called baptism the "identity card" and "birth certificate" of the Christian, and challenged Wednesday audience attendees to find out the date of their baptism and celebrate it.

"The first birthday is the day when you came into life and the second birthday is the one on which you came into the Church... find out the day on which you came into the Church, and give thanks to The Lord, because baptism has opened the door of the Church to us."

When something is of the utmost seriousness and importance we call it a "life or death" situation; baptism is a death to new life situation. We are buried in Christ's death, and rise up by resurrection with him (cf. CCC 1214).

I ask in seriousness: is there anything more amazing than this?

I thank God for offering his gift of salvation to Rose through her baptism, and next year I'll be making sure to celebrate both of her birthdays.

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