July 28, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

Last week we briefly looked at what Sacraments are. Sacraments are when God has to directly step into our lives to bring us Salvation. Regular Graces help us to do whatever we need to do, but Sacraments are gifts of God that bring us Eternal Life.

Of the three Sacraments of Initiation that we will, briefly, look at (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist), Baptism is that Sacrament that starts our Relationship with God. The Ritual states: “Through baptism men and women are incorporated into Christ. They are formed into God’s people, and they obtain forgiveness of all their sins…Baptism is the door to life and to the kingdom of God”

Most people, when asked, say that the primary focus of Baptism is to remove Original Sin. However, look at the above statement. Forgiveness of Sin comes secondary to having a relationship with God. The relationship comes first. Keep in mind that to have that relationship, Sin needs to be removed. God does that, but the relationship is the primary focus for the “why” of Baptism. God starts the Relationship and ends it.
There are two aspects of this relationship that makes us children of God: (1) Death and Dying, and (2) being Washed Clean of Sin. In the early Church, people were Baptized by Immersion; they were “dunked” under water. Going under the water represented Death to the person’s old life of Sin. Coming out of the water represented becoming a New Creation in Christ.

In the early Church, when people came to Rome’s St. John Lateran Basilica to be Baptized, they saw this quote above the Baptismal Waters: Here is born in Spirit-soaked fertility a brood destined for another City, begotten by God’s blowing and borne upon this torrent by the Church their virgin mother. Reborn in these depths they reach for heaven’s realm, the born-but-once known by felicity. This spring is life that floods the world, the wounds of Christ its awesome source. Sinner sinks beneath this sacred surf that swallows age and spits up youth. Sinner here scour sin away down to innocence, for they know no enmity who are by one font, one Spirit, one faith made one. Sinner shudder not at sin’s kind and number, for those born here are holy.

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