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Olivia Goro wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • To what extend does Baptism enrich the life of a person and the community?

Olivia

  { To what extend does Baptism enrich the life of a person and the community? }

Mike replied:

Dear Oliva,

In order to answer this question we have to understand what Baptism is and what it does.

Put briefly, the baptized person is made a new creature through the sacramental grace of Baptism. The newly baptized person strengthens the Church community by its presence and good actions in the Church. Actions and good deeds that were once apart from the Church community, now build the Church community and make it stronger through its presence and witness.

The Catechism tells us:

I. What Is This Sacrament Called?

1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to "plunge" or "immerse"; the "plunge" into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as "a new creature."

1215 This sacrament is also called "the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit," for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one "can enter the kingdom of God."

1216 "This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . ."Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son of light," indeed, he becomes "light" himself:

Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift. . . .We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship.

1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte "a new creature," an adopted son of God, who has become a "partaker of the divine nature," member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.

1266 The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:

  • enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;
  • giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
  • allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.

Thus the whole organism of the Christian's supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.

You said:
To what extend does Baptism enrich the life the community?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:

Incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ

1267 Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: "Therefore . . . we are members one of another." Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body."

1268 The baptized have become "living stones" to be "built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood." By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light." Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.

1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders, holding them in respect and affection. Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.

Valid Baptism brings the Christian family together sacramentally, though some of our brethren may still reject certain teachings or, most of the time, do not understand what we believe about them.

Baptism brings together the sins of the Church with the good works of the Church, while we strive toward that doctrinal unity that our Lord desired in John's Gospel, Chapter 21. It would be negligent on my part if I didn't mention that our Lord said that Baptism was necessary for salvation.

Hope this answers your question.

If you have similar questions, consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Churchs . . . plus with the advent of new technology there are now more and cheaper ways to read the Catechism.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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