Thursday, November 15, 2007

Aletheia Baptism

The single most important event of Aletheia's earthly life will occur this Sunday: we will request for her her baptism. We will ask God to grant her her freedom (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 1250).

The basis for all the other sacraments - through which she will become a Christian - it is, as the Catechism puts it, "the foundation of communion among all Christians" (CCC 1271).

The Greek word baptisma originally means submerging. It symbolizes going deep down into one of the primordial elements of creation: water brings life (no water, no life!), it cleanses, and it can be deadly. In baptism all three meanings are brought together: deadly flood - baptism is a participation in the death and burial of Jesus (Rom. 6:3-4; CCC 1227); cleansing - baptism as the washing of regeneration (CCC 1215); life - baptism as a resurrection with Christ to new life (CCC 1214). The mysterious power and efficacy of baptism come from the Cross of Christ: Aletheia will be be baptized "into his death", so that he may implant in her his life (CCC 1225; 1227).

What takes place in baptism is indicated by the rites that precede and follow it: the request, the signing of the cross, the prayers of exorcism, the clothing with the white garment, and the giving of the candle (CCC 1242-43). Christ loved us first (1 Jn. 4:10), and bestows a gift upon us in baptism (a gift for which we must ask), by dying upon the cross and rising again. Aletheia's baptism presupposes, and the prayers of exorcism make manifest, that every human being is in need of baptism, even our newborn, precious child. Because of original sin (CCC 403), no one is "healthy" in himself: health, the health that is salvation is to be found only in Jesus (Acts 4:12). The acts of clothing Aletheia in a white garment and the giving of the candle symbolize that this newly baptized person has "put on Christ" and has now become light against the darknesses of Satan.

Please pray for Aletheia this weekend: a new Christian will be born!

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