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Reflections: Sacraments Section (Baptism)

Baptism

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Baptism

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Baptism Basics / Misc.

Baptism by Blood or Desire

Living up to One's Baptism

Necessity of Baptism

Praise / Benefits of Baptism

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Baptism (Topic Page) 

Baptism (General Information) 

Baptism (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Baptism (Topical Scripture)

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Baptism Basics / Misc.

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Baptism by Blood or Desire

Also See: Baptism (Topic Page)

Note: The Church holds that Baptism of desire ("an ardent wish to receive Baptism and to do all that God has ordained for our salvation") and Baptism of blood ("the shedding of one's blood for the faith of Christ") are sufficient when it is impossible to receive the Baptism of water. Such cases would be extraordinary occurrences and the faithful are called to partake of the regular means of baptism (by water) whenever possible. Note also that not just any faith is required, but true faith in Christ and in His Church. As the Council of Trent states: "Besides a wish to be baptized, in order to obtain the grace of the Sacrament, faith is also necessary. Our Lord and Savior has said: He that believes and is baptized shall be saved... Another necessary condition is repentance for past sins, and a fixed determination to avoid all sin in the future." And as Pope Pius XII explains regarding membership in the Church: "Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed... As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)  

"Blood and desire, both are called baptisms, for they supply the place of baptism and produce its effect, though neither are sacraments, since they are not official signs." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"If any man receive not baptism, he hath no salvation; except only martyrs, who even without the water receive the kingdom." (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"For whenever unbaptized persons die confessing Christ, this confession is of the same efficacy for the remission of sins as if they were washed in the sacred font of baptism." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"Can. 737. Baptism, the door and foundation of the sacraments and necessary for the salvation of all in actual fact or at least by desire (in voto), is not validly conferred unless true and natural water issued with the prescribed formula of words." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Consequently, apart from baptism by water, a person may obtain the grace of baptism from Christ's passion because he is made like to Christ in His sufferings... For a similar reason a person who is baptized neither by water nor by blood may obtain the grace of baptism through the power of the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit moves his heart to believe God and love Him and be contrite for his sins. This is called the baptism of penitence [or desire]." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"But I hear you lamenting because he had not received the sacraments of Baptism. Tell me, what else could we have, except the will to it, the asking for it? He too had just now this desire; and after he came into Italy it was begun, and a short time ago he signified that he wished to be baptized by me. Did he, then, not have the grace which he desired? Did he not have what he eagerly sought? Certainly, because he sought it, he received it. What else dos it mean: 'Whatever just man shall be overtaken by death, his soul shall be at rest'?" (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, 392 A.D.)

"You have, to be sure, intimated that a certain Jew, when at the point of death, since he lived only among Jews, immersed himself in water while saying: 'I baptize myself in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.' We respond that, since there should be a distinction between the one baptizing and the one baptized, as is clearly gathered from the words of the Lord, when he says to the Apostles: 'Go baptize all nations in the name etc.' [cf. Matt. 28:19], the Jew mentioned must be baptized again by another, that it may be shown that he who is baptized is one person, and he who baptizes another ... If, however, such a one had died immediately, he would have rushed to his heavenly home without delay because of the faith of the sacrament, although not because of the sacrament of faith." (Pope Innocent III, 1206 A.D.)

"To your inquiry we respond thus: We assert without hesitation (on the authority of the holy Fathers Augustine and Ambrose) that the priest whom you indicated (in your letter) had died without the water of baptism, because he persevered in the faith of holy mother the Church and in the confession of the name of Christ, was freed from original sin and attained the joy of the heavenly fatherland. Read (brother) in the eighth book of Augustine's 'City of God' where among other things it is written, 'Baptism is ministered invisibly to one whom not contempt of religion but death excludes.' Read again the book also of the blessed Ambrose concerning the death of Valentinian where he says the same thing. Therefore, to questions concerning the dead, you should hold the opinions of the learned Fathers and in your [parish] you should join in prayers and you should have [Masses] offered to God for the priest mentioned." (Pope Innocent II, "Apostolicam Sedem", c. 1140 A.D.)

"The sacrament or Baptism may be wanting to someone in two ways. First, both in reality and in desire; as is the case with those who neither are baptized, nor wished to be baptized: which clearly indicates contempt of the sacrament, in regard to those who have the use of the free-will. Consequently those to whom Baptism is wanting thus, cannot obtain salvation: since neither sacramentally nor mentally are they incorporated in Christ, through Whom alone can salvation be obtained. Secondly, the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire: for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forestalled by death before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of faith that worketh by charity, whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments, sanctifies man inwardly. Hence Ambrose says of Valentinian, who died while yet a catechumen: 'I lost him whom I was to regenerate: but he did not lose the grace he prayed for.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Necessity of Baptism | Baptism (Gen'l. Info.) | Baptism (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Baptism Basics / Misc. | Original Sin (Catholic Basics Reflections) | The Importance of Being Catholic: Combating Religious Indifferentism / No Salvation Outside the Church | Baptism (Topical Scripture)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Living up to One's Baptism

Also See: Baptism (Topic Page)

"How can we who died to sin yet live in it? Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life... If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as (being) dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires. And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Of course not! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (St. Paul, Rom. 6:2-4, 8-16)

"Let us try to preserve the noble birth which we have inherited from our baptism." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"What leper, when he has been healed, turns again and desires to have his leprosy back? You have put off your transgressions in baptism - forsake them!" (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

"'[When you were questioned at Baptism]: 'Do you renounce the devil and his works?' what did you answer? 'I do so renounce!' 'Do you renounce the world and its delights?' What did you answer? 'I do so renounce!' Keep your answer in mind and never go back on the promises of the word you have pledged.'" (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Baptism (Gen'l. Info.) | Baptism (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Baptism Basics / Misc. | Necessity of Faith and Works / Not Saved by Faith Alone (Feed Your Faith Reflections) | Increase Holiness Section | Catholic Basics Section | Feed Your Faith Section | Catholic Life Section

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Necessity of Baptism

Also See: Baptism (Topic Page)

"Then Jesus approached and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.'" (Mt. 28:18-20)

"[Jesus] said to them, 'Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.'" (Mk. 16:15-16)

"Jesus answered and said to him: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith to him: How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born again? Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh: and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (Jn. 3:3-6)

"If any one saith that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary to salvation; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"[T]hose born in Adam need to be reborn in Christ, lest they be found in that generation which perishes." (St. Prosper of Aquitaine, c. 433 A.D.)

"[F]or no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except through the Sacrament of Baptism." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, c. 387 A.D.)

"It is nothing that we are born of our parents, if we are not reborn again of God by water and the Spirit." [Pseudo Chrys (as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)]

"If indeed, He Who purified the rest was baptized, who is there who does not need Baptism?" (St. Ephrem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he sacrament of Baptism holds the first place in the order of necessity" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"No athlete is admitted to the contest of virtue, unless he has first been washed of all stains and consecrated with the gift of heavenly grace." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"If any man receive not baptism, he hath no salvation; except only martyrs, who even without the water receive the kingdom." (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' No one is excepted: not the infant, not the one prevented by some necessity." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, c. 387 A.D.)

"The universal and absolute necessity of Baptism our Savior has declared in these words: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"And because of the transgression of the first man, the whole stock of the human race was tainted; no one can be set free from the state of the old Adam save through Christ's sacrament of baptism." (Pope St. Leo I the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 737. Baptism, the door and foundation of the sacraments and necessary for the salvation of all in actual fact or at least by desire (in voto), is not validly conferred unless true and natural water issued with the prescribed formula of words." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope St. Pius X in "Lamentabili": "The Christian community has introduced the necessity of baptism, adopting it as a necessary rite, and adding to it the obligation of professing Christianity." (Pope St. Pius X, This proposition was condemned in "Lamentabili", 1907 A.D.)

"The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation in so far as man cannot be saved without, at least, Baptism of desire; 'which, with God, counts for the deed' (Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos 57)." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[The Eucharist] is said not to be as necessary as Baptism, with regard to children, who can be saved without the Eucharist, but not without the sacrament of Baptism: both, however, are of necessity with regard to adults." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 849 Baptism, the gateway to the sacraments, is necessary for salvation, either by actual reception or at least by desire. By it people are freed from sins, are born again as children of God and, made like to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the Church. It is validly conferred only by a washing in real water with the proper form of words." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Holy baptism holds the first place among all the sacraments because it is the door of the spiritual life. By it we are made members of Christ and of his body, the Church. And since through the first man death has come to all men, unless we are reborn of water and of the Holy Spirit, we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven as the Truth himself tells us (see John 3:5)." (Council of Florence)

"...the law of Baptism, as established by our Lord, extends to all, so that unless they are regenerated to God through the grace of Baptism, be their parents Christians or infidels, they are born to eternal misery and destruction. Pastors, therefore, should often explain these words of the Gospel: Unless a man be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"The faithful are earnestly to be exhorted to take care that their children be brought to the church, as soon as it can be done with safety, to receive solemn Baptism. Since infant children have no other means of salvation except Baptism, we may easily understand how grievously those persons sin who permit them to remain without the grace of the Sacrament longer than necessity may require, particularly at an age so tender as to be exposed to numberless dangers of death." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Error CONDEMNED by the Council of Constance: "Those who claim that the children of the faithful dying without sacramental baptism will not be saved, are stupid and presumptuous in saying this." [Council of Constance, This proposition was condemned in the sentence condemning 260 articles of Wyclif, 'This holy synod, therefore, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, repudiates and condemns, by this perpetual decree, the aforesaid articles and each one of them in particular; and it forbids each and every Catholic henceforth, under pain of anathema, to preach, teach, or hold the said articles or any one of them.']

"Baptism is a sacrament of greater necessity than Penance, as regards confession and absolution, because sometimes Baptism cannot be omitted without loss of eternal salvation, as in the case of children who have not come to the use of reason: whereas this cannot be said of confession and absolution, which regard none but adults, in whom contrition, together with the purpose of confessing and the desire of absolution, suffices to deliver them from everlasting death. Consequently there is no parity between Baptism and confession." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 3. It has been decided likewise that if anyone says that for this reason the Lord said: 'In my Father's house there are many mansions' [John 14:2]: that it might be understood that in the kingdom of heaven there will be some middle place or some place anywhere where the blessed infants live who departed from this life without baptism, without which they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is life eternal, let him be anathema. For when the Lord says: 'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he shall not enter into the kingdom of God' [John 3:5], what Catholic will doubt that he will be partner of the devil who has not deserved to be a coheir of Christ? For he who lacks the right part will without doubt run into the left." (Pope St. Zosimus, Council of Carthage XVI, 418)

"It is written (John 3:5): 'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Again it is stated in De Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus xli, that 'we believe the way of salvation to be open to those only who are baptized.'... Men are bound to that without which they cannot obtain salvation. Now it is manifest that no one can obtain salvation but through Christ; wherefore the Apostle says (Romans 5:18): 'As by the offense of one unto all men unto condemnation; so also by the justice of one, unto all men unto justification of life.' But for this end is Baptism conferred on a man, that being regenerated thereby, he may be incorporated in Christ, by becoming His member: wherefore it is written (Galatians 3:27): 'As many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ.' Consequently it is manifest that all are bound to be baptized: and that without Baptism there is no salvation for men." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"If anyone denies that infants newly born from their mothers' wombs are to be baptized, even though they be born of baptized parents, or says they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which must be expiated by the laver of regeneration for the attainment of life everlasting, whence it follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins is understood to be not true, but false: let him be anathema. For what the Apostle has said: 'By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned' [Rom. 5:12], is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For by reason of this rule of faith from a tradition of the apostles even infants, who could not as yet commit any sins of themselves, are for this reason truly baptized for the remission of sins, so that in them there may be washed away by regeneration, what they have contracted by generation.. 'For unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God' [John 3:5]." (Council of Trent, 1546 A.D.)

Also See: Baptism (Gen'l. Info.) | Baptism (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Baptism Basics / Misc. | Original Sin (Catholic Basics Reflections) | The Importance of Being Catholic: Combating Religious Indifferentism / No Salvation Outside the Church | Baptism (Topical Scripture) | Baptism by Blood or Desire

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflctns.: A-Z | Catg. | Scripture: A-Z | Catg. | Help

Praise / Benefits of Baptism

Also See: Baptism (Topic Page)

"For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." (St. Paul, Gal. 3:27)

"Baptism [is] man's only title to heaven!" (Liturgical Year)

"[C]ivilization itself is but a consequence of baptism." (Gueranger)

"[T]he effect of Baptism is that the baptized are incorporated in Christ as His members." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"You go down dead in your sins, and you come up made alive in righteousness." (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, c. 350 A.D.)

"If we beheld a soul after baptism with the eyes of faith, we should see angels taking their watch around it." (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

"[T]hose who are baptized in Christ become, as it were, other Christs, through a communication of the Spirit." (St. Methodius of Philippi, c. 299 A.D.)

"As to all those who by baptism are born again, the door of the kingdom of heaven is opened, so all in baptism receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit." [Remigius (as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)]

"When we are baptized, we are enlightened. Being enlightened, we are adopted as sons. Adopted as sons, we are made perfect. Made perfect, we become immortal." (St. Clement of Alexandria, c. 3rd century A.D.)

"[B]y the grace of baptism converts have been made fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, and...regeneration in the Spirit is of far greater worth than birth in the flesh" (Council of Basil)

"They are to be taught, in the first place, that such is the admirable efficacy of this Sacrament [of Baptism] that it remits original sin and actual guilt, however unthinkable its enormity may seem." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Were our eyes, like those of the servant of Eliseus, opened to see heavenly things, who can be supposed so senseless as not to be lost in rapturous admiration of the divine mysteries of Baptism!" (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was generated in one Adam." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 408 A.D.)

"Baptism operates by the power of Christ's Passion, which is the universal remedy for all sins; and so by Baptism all sins are loosed." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Thus too in our case the unction runs carnally but profits spiritually; in the same way as the act of baptism itself too is carnal, in that we are plunged in water, but the effect spiritual, in that we are freed from sins." [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he would ultimately fall into heresy), 3rd century A.D.]

"Chrysostom says (Hom. 25 in Joannis) 'When we dip our heads under the water as in a kind of tomb our old man is buried, and being submerged is hidden below, and thence he rises again renewed.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"This is truly a spiritual birth, and therefore it is not of blood nor of the will of man nor of the will of the flesh, but of God. This is called adoption. For we were something before we became sons of God, and we received a benefit by which we became what we were not." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 412 A.D.)

"At the moment that the soul receives holy baptism, original sin is taken away from her, and grace is infused into her, and that inclination to sin, which remains from the original corruption...is indeed a source of weakness, but the soul can keep the bridle on it if she choose." (St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church)

"As Augustine says in his book on Infant Baptism (De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione et de Baptismo parvulorum i), 'the effect of Baptism is to make those, who are baptized, to be incorporated in Christ as His members.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Baptism in Greek means dipping in Latin; it is called dipping because man is thereby changed for the better by the spirit of grace, and become something far different from what he was... Just as the outer body is cleansed by water, so by its mysterious effects the soul is secretly purified through the Holy Spirit." (St. Isidore, Doctor of the Church)

"No one can receive what he has not the power to receive. Now the character of Baptism gives a man the power to receive the other sacraments. Wherefore he that has not the baptismal character, can receive no other sacrament" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is a washing by which we are cleansed of sins; a gift of grace by which the punishments due our sins are remitted; an illumination by which we behold that holy light of salvation - that is, by which we see God clearly; an we call that perfection which leaves nothing lacking." (St. Clement of Alexandria, circa 3rd century A.D.)

"For from Baptism we receive the Spirit of Christ. At that same moment in which the priests invoke the Spirit, heaven opens, and He descends and rests upon the waters; and those who are baptized are clothed in Him. For the Spirit is absent from all those who are born of the flesh, until they come to the water of re-birth; and then they receive the Holy Spirit." (St. Aphraates, c. 336-345 A.D.)

"For the spirit of man is sanctified by the Spirit, when the body has been sanctified by water. For just as water, when it is poured into cauldrons and set over a blazing fire draws power from the fire, so too by means of the operation of the Spirit the tangible water is transformed to some divine and indescribable power, and it sanctifies those in whom it would work rebirth." (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, c. 431 A.D.)

"Our restoration to paradise, our ascent to the kingdom of heaven, our return to the adoption of sons, our vocal freedom to call God our Father, our being made sharers in the grace of Christ, our being termed children of light, our being participants in eternal glory, and in a word, our being brought into the fullness of blessing in this world and in the future, is through the Holy Spirit." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church, c. 375 A.D.)

"Made partakers of God through the Spirit, we have been sealed unto likeness with Him, and we mount upwards to the exemplar of the image according to which also we were made, as the divine Scripture tells. For as soon as we have regained the ancient beauty of our nature and are conformed to that divine nature, we will be superior to the evils attendant upon us from the fall." (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, c. 431 A.D.)

"Let us love this august mystery of baptism, to which we are indebted for the life of our souls, and for the indelible character which makes us members of our divine Head, Jesus. The holy King of France, St. Louis, who was baptized in the humble village of Poissy, loved to sign himself 'Louis of Poissy.' He looked upon the baptismal font as the mother who had given him a life incomparably superior to that which made him the son of an earthly monarch: she gave him to be the child of God and heir to the kingdom of Heaven. We should imitate this saintly king." (Gueranger)

"[Christians, by their Baptism] are put in possession of that sublime vocation which is often imagined to be the happy lot of but a chosen few. Would that they could seize this grand yet very simple idea, which thou hadst give, of the mystery wherein is contained the absolute and universal principle of Christian life: that, having been buried with Jesus under the waters, and thereby incorporated with him, they are necessarily bound by every right and title to become saints, to aim at union with Jesus in his life since they have been granted union with him in his death." (Liturgical Year)

"He has not only delivered us from sins, but has made us loveable. Just as if someone were to take a leper consumed by illness and disease, and by age and poverty and hunger, and were to turn him suddenly into a comely youth surpassing all men by his beauty, shedding a bright sunbeam from his cheeks, yes, shaming the dazzling beams of the sun with the sparkle of his eyes; and then were to set him down in the flower of his age, and on top of that, array him in purple and a diadem and all the royal regalia. That is how God has decked out our soul, how beautiful and desirable and lovable He has made it." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 394 A.D.)

"By the same bath of regeneration and by the word of sanctification absolutely all the evils of a man, when he is regenerate, are cleansed and healed, not only all the sins which are remitted in Baptism, but even those which are committed later by human ignorance or weakness; not that Baptism can be repeated as often as sin is committed, but because it is by virtue of that Baptism which is given only once, that, not only before but even afterwards, forgiveness for sins of whatever sort may be sought and obtained by the faithful. For of what avail would repentance be either before Baptism, if Baptism did not follow, or after Baptism, if Baptism did not precede?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 419 A.D.)

"Should anyone desire a striking figure and image (of the efficacy of Baptism) let him consider the history of Naaman the Syrian leper, of whom the Scriptures inform us that when he had washed seven times in the waters of the Jordan he was so cleansed from his leprosy that his flesh became like the flesh of a child. The remission of all sin, original and actual, is therefore the peculiar effect of Baptism. That this was the object of its institution by our Lord and Savior is clearly stated by the Prince of the Apostles, to say nothing of other testimonies, when he says: Do penance and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"[B]y Baptism a man is incorporated in the Passion and death of Christ, according to Romans 6:8: 'If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ.' Hence it is clear that the Passion of Christ is communicated to every baptized person, so that he is healed just as if he himself had suffered and died. Now Christ's Passion...is a sufficient satisfaction for all the sins of all men. Consequently he who is baptized, is freed from the debt of all punishment due to him for his sins [prior to Baptism], just as if he himself had offered sufficient satisfaction for all his sins." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is as if someone were to take a golden statue of a man which has long been tarnished by time and by smoke and by dust and by corrosion and recast it, giving it back to us perfectly cleansed and polished, when God takes this nature of ours, corroded with the rust of sin and much dimmed by the smoke of our faults and deprived of the beauty which was bestowed upon it by Him in the beginning, and casts it anew, throwing it into [the Baptismal waters] as if in a smelting furnace. He pours out the grace of the Spirit in place of fire, and then brings us forth renewed and refreshed and with a brightness to rival the rays of the sun. The old man has been crushed and a new man, more brilliant than the former, has been fashioned." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 388 A.D.)

"Behold, they thoroughly enjoy the peacefulness of freedom who shortly before were held captive. They are citizens of the Church who were wandering in error. They have their lot in righteousness who were in the confusion of sin. For not only are they free, but holy also; not only holy, but righteous too; not only righteous, but sons also; not only sons, but heirs as well; not only heirs, but brothers even of Christ; not only brothers of Christ, but also co-heirs; not only co-heirs, but His very members; not only His members, but a temple too; not a temple only, but likewise the instruments of the Spirit. You see how many are the benefits of Baptism, and some think its heavenly grace consists only in the remission of sins; but we have enumerated ten honors." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 388 A.D.)

"And I myself was bound fast, held by so many errors of my past life, from which I did not believe that I could extricate myself. I was disposed, therefore, to yield to my clinging vices; and, despairing of better ways, I indulged my sins as if they were actually part and parcel of myself. But afterwards, when the stain of my past life had been washed away by means of the water of re-birth, a light from above poured itself upon my chastened and now pure heart; afterwards through the Spirit which is breathed from heaven, a second birth made of me a new man. And then in a marvelous manner, doubts immediately clarified themselves, the closed opened, and the darkness became illuminated, what before had seemed difficult offered a way of accomplishment, and what had been thought impossible was able to be done. Thus it had to be acknowledged that what was of the earth and was born of flesh and had lived submissive to sins, had now begun to be of God, inasmuch as the Holy Spirit was animating it." (St. Cyprian of Carthage, c. 246 A.D.)

"By Baptism man is born again unto the spiritual life, which is proper to the faithful of Christ, as the Apostle says (Galatians 2:20): 'And that I live now in the flesh; I live in the faith of the Son of God.' Now life is only in those members that are united to the head, from which they derive sense and movement. And therefore it follows of necessity that by Baptism man is incorporated in Christ, as one of His members. Again, just as the members derive sense and movement from the material head, so from their spiritual Head, i.e. Christ, do His members derive spiritual sense consisting in the knowledge Of truth, and spiritual movement which results from the instinct of grace. Hence it is written (John 1:14,16): 'We have seen Him ... full of grace and truth; and of His fullness we all have received.' And it follows from this that the baptized are enlightened by Christ as to the knowledge of truth, and made fruitful by Him with the fruitfulness of good works by the infusion of grace." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The Apostle is silent about his own dignity as the rock, on which Jesus has built his Church; but observe the glorious titles he gives us, you who have been made members of that Church by Baptism. You are, says he, a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people. Oh, yes! What a difference there is between one that is baptized and one that is not! Heaven is opened to the one, and shut against the other; the one is a slave of the devil, and the other is a king in Christ Jesus, the eternal King, whose brother he has now become; the one cut off from God, the other offering him a sacrifice of infinite worth by the hands of the great High Priest, Jesus. And all these gifts have been bestowed upon us by a purely gratuitous mercy; we had done nothing to merit them. Let us, then, offer to the Father, who has thus adopted us, our humble acts of thanksgiving; let us go back, in thought, to the time when we ourselves were neophytes, and renew the promises which were made, in our name, as the essential condition of our being admitted to all these graces." (Gueranger)

"But, whilst humble confessing the God whom we have been taught to know as He is in Himself, we must, likewise, pay a tribute of eternal gratitude to the ever glorious Trinity. Not only has It vouchsafed to impress Its divine image on our soul, by making her to Its own likeness; but in the supernatural order, It has taken possession of our being, and raised it to an incalculable pitch of greatness. The Father has adopted us in His Son become Incarnate; the Word illumines our minds with His light; the Holy Ghost has chosen use for His dwelling: and this it is that is expressed by the form of holy Baptism. By those words pronounced over us, together with the pouring out of the water, the whole Trinity took possession of Its creature. We call this sublime marvel to mind as often as we invoke the three divine Persons, making upon ourselves, at the same time, the sign of the cross... Let us respect this divine impress which we bear upon us: it is to be eternal; hell itself will not be able to blot it out. Let it, then, be our hope, our dearest title; and let us live for the glory of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost! Amen!" (Liturgical Year)

"At that moment of our Baptism the strong-armed tyrant forfeited his possession of us; Sin being thus destroyed, the head of triple concupiscence has been severed, and the monster may writhe as he can; aided by grace, many thus liberated may always prevent, if he wishes, the coils of the serpent from again being joined with their head. Yes, this is the manifold, yet single, work of holy Baptism: in the twinkling of an eye, and by its own power, it extirpates sin, and annihilates all its rights over us; but, once this is achieved, man must co-operate with the grace of the sacrament, that is, he must keep watch over his treacherous inclinations to sin, which come to life again by the slightest encouragement; he must be ever keeping up the work which his baptism-day began - that is, he must be ever be cutting down the vile and noxious weeds which are ever cropping up. First, then, there is the death of sin, which in its complete and sudden defeat of the old enemy, is the result of God's divine operation; but all this is to be followed up by a work which it belongs to the affranchised slave to do: the life-long work of mortification of the spirit and of the senses. It is the virtue of the first sacrament which is still telling on the Christian in this work of twofold mortification; in his mortification, the sacrament is still pushing on its ceaseless work of vengeance against sin. Holy Baptism, having operated in the wretched slave of sin what God alone could empower it to achieve, summons man, now that his chains have fallen, to join it in the glorious work of maintaining his liberty; it invites him to share with it the honor of the divine victory over Satan and his works." (Liturgical Year)

Also See: Baptism (Gen'l. Info.) | Baptism (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Baptism Basics / Misc. | Necessity of Baptism | Living up to One's Baptism | Baptism (Topical Scripture)

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