I was sitting with a priest discussing the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. I was interested in deepening my prayer life, but the priest said something unexpected and intriguing. He said, “go to an Adoration Chapel, kneel before the Blessed Sacrament and say, ‘Jesus, I want you to show me how you see me.’ Once you say this, just wait for God to respond.” Immediately after the meeting, I went to a chapel, knelt down on my knees and posed the question to Jesus.
Within seconds, I had an image in my mind of my little boy in my arms. I was holding him and he was smiling. He was giggling because his dad is a really funny guy. The Lord spoke to me in that moment saying, “you know how you look upon your little boy with love? That is exactly how I see you.” I then had an image of my toddler running. My boy at the time was only about a year and a half.
Unfortunately, when he would run, his little toddler legs couldn’t keep up with how fast he would want to go. He would usually fall. Now when my little boy would fall down, I would run to him as fast as I could, pick him up and tell him that daddy was here and that I loved him. It was at that moment that I realized Jesus was trying to tell me something.
When I fall down, Jesus wants to run and pick me up and tell me that I am loved. He sees me as His child. As a parent, you have been pinched, hit or told, “daddy (or mommy,) I don’t like you anymore.” But the reality is that you love them not based on what they do, but based on who they are. They are your son or your daughter.
The Sacrament of Baptism is known in the Catholic Church as the door of the Church. When we are baptized, we are made members of the Church. It is at Baptism that we have been made as adopted children of God (Galatians 4:6). We are welcomed into God’s family. When we are baptized, we become members of the Body of Christ. We are sons and daughters of the King. It is at Baptism that we receive an indelible mark, where the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and begins the work of sanctification. In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are given a beautiful gift from God.
In the Old Testament, we see Ezekiel prophesize about baptism when God says, “ I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:25-26).
Romans 5:12 states that, “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” Therefore, in the Book of Genesis, Adam’s first sin is viewed as an adequate explanation of the human condition. All who are in solidarity with Adam have sinned and are cut off from God before Baptism takes place. In Adam’s sin all human beings lost their natural power for good and their innocence. Baptism takes place so that by regeneration we may be cleansed. It is the way that our souls are sanctified and our relationship with God is restored.
Baptism has powerful effects on our soul. Baptism is the sacrament where we are first united to Christ, our sins are washed away, and we become sons and daughters of God. In scripture, Jesus said to Nicodemus that, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The Sacrament of Baptism, by imparting the life of grace, erases original sin and turns the individual back towards God. It is original sin, which makes the Baptism necessary. It is Baptism which makes God’s salvation visible in Christ Jesus. The Sacrament of Baptism is clearly recognized as the source of salvation. The guilt is remitted and one reaches the kingdom of heaven through this rite of initiation. Baptism saves an individual through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21). It is through this sacrament that you receive supernatural grace and are reborn of water and the Holy Spirit to the divine life of Christ Jesus.
Does your son or daughter know the date that they were baptized? Do you know the date of your baptism? Since we were welcomed into the family of God at our baptism, it is a significant moment in your life and your child’s life. Once your child knows when they were baptized, it would be special to celebrate on that day each year. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate the anniversary of your child’s baptism:
- Go to church and encourage your child to renew their baptismal promises by praying them as a family.
- Invite the family to make the Sign of the Cross on your child’s forehead; then invite everyone to sign their own foreheads with holy water. Offer hugs all around and celebrate with a special meal or treat.
- If your child received a candle at their Baptism, have them light the baptismal candle and talk about the light of Christ at dinner as a family.
- Invite the godparents to write a letter each year to your child encouraging them on their journey with the Lord. Let your child open the letter on the date they were baptized.
- Each year give your child a gift that will help them on their journey of faith. For example, a Bible, a crucifix, rosary, blessed candles, an image or medal of a saint, etc.
- Invite the godparents to come for dinner to celebrate the day that your child was baptized.
- Go to Mass as a family and then spend a holy hour in Adoration thanking God for His love and mercy.
In Baptism we have been filled with the light of Christ. May we always walk as children of the light and keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts. You are chosen. You are loved. May we live each day knowing our true identity as beloved children of God.