Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A timely reminder for parents

On Sunday I watched on EWTN as Pope Benedict XVI baptised 16 babies in the Sistine Chapel. This is an annual ceremony which takes place on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The children baptised belong to couples who work in Vatican City. What a privilege and what a wonderful memory for the family album and yet what is happening is more marvellous than the occasion or the Michelangelo decorated venue. The Pope in his homily tells the parents,
"Baptism, which you ask for your children today, inserts them into the reciprocal exchange of love that exists in God between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; by this gesture that I am going to perform, the love of God is poured out upon them, inundating them with his gifts. By being bathed in the water, your children are inserted into the life itself of Jesus, who died on the cross to free us from sin, and rising, conquered death. So, spiritually immersed in his death and resurrection, [these children] are freed from original sin and in them the life of grace begins, which is the very life of the risen Jesus."
Wow! So that is what happens when the sacrament is administered. Present day catechetics often fails to draw attention to the removal of original sin at baptism and concentrates in preference on welcoming the child into God's family. We are duly reminded by our Holy Father that, much more than being a sign of unity, baptism has a salvific nature.
Once parents grasp the awesomeness of the sacrament they will be helped to take more seriously their own task as the first and foremost educators of their children. As the Pope also said,
"it is necessary that after baptism {the children} are educated in faith, instructed according to the wisdom of sacred Scripture and the Church's teachings, so that the seeds of faith that they receive today can grow, and they can reach full Christian maturity."
Let us pray for all parents, that the Holy Spirit will help and guide them in their work of passing on the faith in the context of their little domestic church.

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