It's been awhile since I've written a post on my Catholic Faith. I was reading the blog from Bible Gateway yesterday and I had one of those "ah ha" moments. So I thought I would share.
I've gotten into several discussions with other Christians (non-Catholic) about Baptism and infant Baptism. We baptized both of our children when they were babies. We believe that baptism is the foundational Sacrament of the Christian life. “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” Christ makes it clear that baptism is a necessary part of our salvation. Here are some biblical references that support the Church's teachings on baptism:
"It is through the sacrament of Baptism that we become Christians, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13). Baptism also takes away sin: "Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins" (Acts 22:16). Baptism and Confirmation are the sacramental elements of being born again, and the normal means by which we receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us in John 3:5, "Unless one is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." And in Acts 2:38-39, Peter says, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Him."
All of the words I put in bold are why we chose to baptize Madeline and James as infants. I love knowing that they have received the gift of the Holy Spirit so early on in their Christian lives.
"The Holy Spirit is the dispenser of grace. At Baptism there is an infusion of grace. If the grace a baby receives at Baptism is nourished (in a Christian atmosphere) it grows; if not, it dies. The saving grace of God enables us to hear and accept the Gospel, not only as adults but also as children hearing it for the first time. That babies can benefit spiritually is clearly indicated in Luke 18:15-16: "Now they were bringing even infants to Him that He might touch them. And when the disciples saw it they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him saying, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.'" Mark finishes the story in his account, "And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands upon them" (Mark 10:16)."
I know that many non-Catholic Christians view our Church's teachings on this subject as crazy talk. They maybe feel that nothing occurs when being baptized except for an outward expression and symbolism of an inward faith. I will have to disagree, there is an infusion of grace that takes place. It's a mystery of faith, but it happens! So my "ah ha" moment was when I was reading the Bible Gateway blog post on the Nicene creed. There is a line in the creed:
"We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins."
There it is, acknowledgement that even the early Christians (325 A.D.) believed in the same teachings as the Church on baptism. Not sure why I haven't had this "ah ha" moment before as I recite this creed aloud every time I go to Mass. I've read text from Early Church Fathers that support the Church's teachings on baptism...but many non-Catholic Christians do not look to the ECF's writings. This creed however is one of the most important and influential creeds in all of Christian history.
I am so thankful for God's saving grace.
*references from staycatholic.com