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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Baptism as a Sacrament

In order for us to understand baptism, we must first understand what a sacrament is.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, sacraments are said to effect what they signify; are "efficacious signs" or "realizing symbols."

A Sacrament is "an outward sign of an inward grace instituted by Christ" and entrusted to the church by which divine life is dispensed to us through the work of the holy spirit.

Christ uses sacramental signs to confer his life and grace. When they are celebrated they reveal and make present the reality they signify.

Through Baptism we become children of God.

We have died to our "Old Selves" and have become reborn "Anew."

We are now open to gifts of the Holy Spirit:







Fear of the Lord

It is through the outward sign of being washed and cleansed with water that we can feel, and visualize what is actually being done inwardly.

Baptism is necessary for salvation "No one can enter the Kingdom of god without being born of water and the spirit. (Jn 3:5)

* The word "Baptism" in the Greek means "immersion" or "bath"

* Immersion in water is a sign of death

*Immersion out of water is a sign of new life

* To bathe in water is to undergo cleansing

* The origin and foundation of Christian baptism is Jesus when he submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters didn't purify him, but rather He purified the waters.

* Baptism is the means Jesus chose for us to die to sin, original and actual, and to begin to live a new life with God.

These signs and symbols actually accomplish what they signify

What are the effects of baptism?

* Original and actual sins are forgiven

* You become a child of God

* Initiated into Christ's Church in the new Covenant

* You're made a sharer in Christ's mission of Priest, Prophet, and King.

Why do Catholic Baptise Their Children?

Since the earliest times, baptism has been administered to children, for it is a grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit; children are baptised in the faith of the Church.

Entry into Christian life gives access to true freedom.

Using the argument that many protestants use regarding objection to child baptism is that the child does not understand what he is doing or choosing. Well using that argument one is suggesting that the person being baptised has some control over the sacrament and has lost the mystery and reality that baptism is a gift from God, truly a gift given without merit. Also, the ordinary way for a person to be baptised in the catholic church is through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) which is an Adult program and would include Adult baptism. However, an extraordinary method for baptism is offered to children of catholics allowing the child to enter into the christian family and church.

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