The Sacrament of Baptism
The sacrament of Baptism is the first of the sacraments of initiation. It is only through Baptism that one becomes a Christian and a member of the Church. In Baptism we are freed from original sin, brought into a new birth in the Holy Spirit and received into the Body of Christ, the Church!
Baptism is a loving gift from God that leaves an indelible (permanent) mark on our souls so that just as in the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders we can only receive it once. If Baptized as an adult the sacrament also has the effect of the forgiving of all personal sins, incurred up to that point, as well as original sin, so the newly Baptized can be viewed as one who is truly born again indeed! As in all of the sacraments Baptism is a special communication of God to us in the form of grace that is bestowed upon us, we become adopted sons and daughters of God through the Baptismal character. In Baptism we are also given a great responsibility as well, to live our lives justly as true children of God by following the great commandment handed down by our Lord and Savior Himself, to love our God with all of our heart, soul and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The rite of Baptism itself is a beautiful expression of the Faith and communicates to the faithful various aspects of the way that we, as God’s people, interact with Him in the sacraments. Besides the three fold pouring of the water over the recipient’s head and the necessary formula of Baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit there are various sacramentals involved in the ritual.
The sign of the cross, at the beginning of the celebration, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of the redemption Christ won for us by his cross.
The anointing with the oil of catechumens along with the prayer that is said renounces Satan allowing the person or their parents and sponsors to be able to confess the faith of the Church, to which one is “entrusted” by Baptism.
The anointing with sacred chrism, perfumed oil consecrated by the bishop, signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, one “anointed” by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king.
The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has “put on Christ,” has risen with Christ.
The lighting of the baptismal candle from the Easter candle symbolizes the “light of faith” which the Baptized should always keep “burning” in their heart and a reminder that they are to be “the light of the world.”
- Deacon Bill Watzek