Sacrament of baptism, the beginning of the Christian life

The sacrament of Baptism is one of the sacred ceremonies of many religions related to Christianity, it will be considered the beginning of the Christian life, in this article you will be able to learn more about this topic.

Sacrament of Baptism

For most Christians, the sacrament of baptism represents the path to reach the kingdom of God, it is a part of the entire journey that the faithful must take to obtain the grace of God, it is considered the beginning of the entrance to the church and permanent communion with God.

It is a basic sacrament that allows us to unite with Jesus Christ, frees any man from original sin and personal sins, when considered an alliance with God, they represent belonging to his children through the manifestation of faith for the rest of their lives.

But what is the sacrament of Baptism ? It is the first encounter with God, of several, that every Catholic must carry out throughout his life, allowing him to complete a process of salvation from birth to death.

Baptism Concept

The word baptism comes from the Greek “baptizein”, which means to immerse or “introduce into the water”; the “immersion” in the water symbolizes the act of burying the catechumen in the death of Christ, there comes the resurrection that allowed him to become a being of eternal light.

Christianity adopted it as a way to free people from original sin, it is used in other religious currents in a different way, but each form of Christian thought uses baptism as an element to give entrance to a religious life that must compete for the rest of life.

Source 

Its origin dates back to the spiritual rites that many believers in various spiritualities performed in order to free themselves from sins, before Jesus arrived on earth. It was called “Bath of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”, since it was an expression to perform the birth of the soul through cleansing with water and the Holy Spirit in a person’s body.

Without baptism no one can enter the Kingdom of God, there are many references regarding baptism reflected in the Bible, for example in some passages it says the following:

“Having received the baptism in word, the true light that enlightens every man”

So that the baptized person becomes one of the children of light, and begins to be part of the family of God, and his life will be marked by the actions that he wishes to carry out as a good Christian.

The most important historical reference of Baptism is represented by the moment when John the Baptist performs the sacrament of Jesus Christ, although in a very traditional way, John was a prophet who was in charge of freeing souls in the Jordan River by immersing them in the water with the object of releasing their sorrows.

This action was very natural at that time, where those initiated in the elimination of sins, immersed their heads three times in the river that was previously blessed. In the case of John the Baptist, they do it because he expected and announced the arrival of the savior, so that every human being should have a clean and pure soul to receive him, it is believed that from that moment the baptism became an act sacred.

Baptism in the Church.

The Church considered it important to carry out baptism from the day that Peter was preaching on the day of Pentecost and declared the following:

“Repent and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Believers in Jesus were baptized by the Apostles of Jesus before and after the death of the Messiah, every person who considered himself a Christian should be baptized, directly, which became an act of faith for the Church, even before its growth and popularity worldwide

After the death of Jesus, he had authorized all his apostles to perform the act of baptism through this order:

“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, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Jesus himself voluntarily submitted to baptism, so that from that day on the Holy Spirit took possession of him and the father manifested himself by making him his beloved son and receiving him in his glory.

For Paul, baptism allows the believer to participate in the death of Christ, be buried and rise with him, let’s see: 

“Or do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might live a new life» Romans.

Every believer must comply with the sacrament of baptism, regardless of age, considering himself a child of God, the Church determines that the person must immediately comply with this sacramental act, and understand what the sacrament of baptism brings us?  which will allow us to enter the temple of God.

Performing the Sacrament of Baptism

Apart from being a sacramental act, for the Church it is a celebration where people demonstrate their act of faith towards God, through the completion and elimination of sins, thus giving entrance to the life established by the Holy Trinity.

This ceremony becomes a short process where the person’s head is inserted into a baptismal font or holy water is added while their sins are atoned for, in some non-Catholic Christian religions, they maintain the tradition of baptizing the person in a river submerging his head three times, as was done thousands of years ago.

In each spiritual current the rite of baptism has different particularities, let’s see:

  • The so-called Latin church performs the triple immersion or placement of water on the head of the baptized person, saying the following words: “(Name of the person), I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
  • In the Liturgies of the East, conditions are established such as, the catechumen or religious specialist to administer the baptism keep his eyes towards the East, then pronounce the following words: “The servant of God (Name of the person) is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Then he invokes each member of the Holy Trinity and immerses the baptized three times.
  • In the liturgy of the Orthodox Churches, the same previous procedure is carried out but then the so-called “post-baptismal anointing” is applied, which consists of a sacrament of confirmation or chrismation.
  • The Roman Church carried out the process similar to previous wings and establishes a second anointing that consists of announcing the final confirmation and fullness of baptism.

The baptismal anointing together with the holy chrism, perfumed oil and water are consecrated by the bishop, they represent the elements used in the different ceremonies during the sacrament of baptism, which allow the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be granted, when a person is initiated into the Church he is said to have been anointed by the Holy Spirit.

The Elements of Baptism

The ceremony of the sacrament of baptism establishes a kind of sacred moments where different religions use instruments, articles and sacred things that complement the spiritual action, let’s see:

  • The request to dress in white is a way of symbolizing the purity and investiture in Christ that the person will receive, it is considered the resurrection next to Christ, when they are children it is established as the illumination that Jesus has given to the child, and they pass to be the “light of the world”
  • Water forms the basic element that eliminates all sins, generally holy water is used in churches, in other cases the place where it is performed is first blessed and especially the water.
  • The anointing with oils represents the call of God, faith and enlightenment in our lives, various traditions use oils of various compositions but always under the supervision of priests or catechumens.
  • Fire (which in some places is represented by candles) is faith and the flame that lights up our lives.
  • The baptismal font is the place where the sinner is taken in order to place it and add water to purify it, there is no specific model, it should only be able to contain the water that will fall after being added to the baptized person.
  • The catechumen is a priest that some religions require some preparation to carry out the ceremony, in the Catholic Church, most priests are considered catechumens, so that any priest is prepared and ready to offer the sacrament of baptism.
  • Of course, the venue where the ceremony takes place, which is generally in the Church, a chapel or cathedral, although in some places they perform Baptisms outside the Church, these are not regulated or accepted by it.

Who gets baptized?

For the Church, any person who has not been baptized can receive it at any age, the only condition that is required is to have a lot of faith, make a previous confession and attend the ceremony for liberation, although the recommendations of the Church suggest that it is better do it at an early age.

This is motivated by the fact that children are freer from sin and it seeks to eliminate only the original sins. When a person converts to Christianity his concept of the world changes, he begins the path assigned by the catechumen, where personal conversion acquires a level of spiritual improvement.

christening of children

Baptism in children represents a very important situation for the Church and it is that it considers that the only reason is that God has chosen them before we have the option of choosing him, in children it is considered a grace and a God’s gift to men.

In this way the child is detached and uprooted from original sin and the power of death, the Christian education that every child should receive is complemented by the sacrament of baptism, in order to give him the real freedom of his life.

It is a way of expressing natural love and that in his early years he gets to know the goodness of God, which, like other natural learning, he must get to know and receive. The sacrament of baptism should not be imposed on any person, it is an act of will and faith, the father must be aware of the teaching in God that he must carry out every day so that the act of faith is reaffirmed.

Motivate your child if you are a Christian to know God, appreciate his greatness and feel his grace, in order to be able to perform the sacrament of baptism in a happy way and that can be full of joy, so you can lead a full life and fair.

Who can manage them?

At some point it was considered that those who perform baptism should be people who are well prepared spiritually within the Church, but today Bishops, Priests, Priests, Deacons can administer it, they are considered carriers of catechumenal spiritual tools, which are learned during their development as priests.

People not authorized by the Church can offer it in case of extreme need the Church authorizes any Christian and even another person to perform the sacrament, provided they have the conviction of the faith and know the procedure and the words to say at the time of the baptism

Conditions to be baptized

To be baptized, it is simply required to declare your sins publicly through a confession, take a very short preparatory course where the young person is instructed in everything related to Catholicism, attend church every Sunday and present himself on the day of baptism to the indicated time.

These conditions allow us to really understand what is Catholic baptism? , they are not obligatory, only that the Church considers it necessary and it is previously informed to the parents, due to the way in which society is moving, where evil takes some steps forward, and it seeks to obtain peace and tranquility of young people through the search for God.

Is it the only way to salvation?

When the path is wrong and it is observed that a person is taking wrong steps, it can be considered that baptism is the only way to take him on the right path, however for those who are on the right path it is not even necessary make them see that this is the right path.

Christian baptism is the gateway to salvation, at that entrance is Jesus who indicates the path to truth and life, even if a person has not been baptized in his life and has a middle age, or advanced, there will always be a space to help him and to know which is the way of salvation.

For this, the sacrament of baptism is used, where it is tried to make known the truth of Jesus, open the heart so that all deviations can surface and let them go, so that the grace and glory of God can enter your heart.

The sacraments begin with baptism. After birth, the long path that leads to knowing life and the truth begins for the Christian. Jesus is the companion of everything. He teaches man to abandon the path. Baptism as the first sacrament is the way in which we begin to know that path.

The name during baptism

In some Christian currents, during baptism the name of the person is given immediately, it is generally presented as traditions that the Church has tried to promote through its believers, in Catholicism it is optional to place it on the same day of baptism, so that the child lasts a few days without really having his name.

The granting of the name in Catholic baptism establishes the call of God, the way in which it is given to God, in Isaiah it says the following:

“I have called you by your name, you are mine”

During the sacrament of baptism, the name represents the confirmation of maintaining a faith throughout his life, being baptized with a specific name represents knowing God, he receives and accepts the person as his son for life, it is a dedication that the natural parents of the child bestow upon God.

Saint Names for Baptism

For many people, the best examples of life are represented by the saints, who with their actions left in history allow to obtain many devotees who feel admiration and respect for them.

Some call them patron saints and establish the name for their children and suggest some names to friends and relatives, it is considered a tradition in Spain to assign names of saints during baptisms, some use the name day of the calendar to give the respective name.

Pope Francis spoke about the importance of Baptism and his way of keeping it in the Church as a sacrament in the Church, he said the following:

“We are called to live our Baptism every day, as a current reality in our existence. If we manage to follow Jesus and remain in the Church, even with our limits, with our frailties and our sins, it is precisely because of the Sacrament in which we have been converted into new creatures and have been clothed with Christ. Pope Francisco.”

The Church bases that the sacrament of baptism is the way to communicate with God, obtaining the grace of Jesus, who with his example shows us the path to eternal life, for today’s Christian Catholics, it is difficult to establish a way of stay true to religion and faith.

The moments of technological advance that the human being lives every day distance him more from religion and from God, although we observe that this sacrament has remained in volume in almost the entire world, in Latin America it has been the continent where the sacrament of Baptism have grown in recent years.

This continent has become the main area of ​​Catholic devotion in the world, countries like Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia maintain pastoral and ecclesiastical activity at very high levels, allowing millions of children to receive every Sunday who attend to receive God through this beautiful sacrament.

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