The Sacrament of Baptism is the most beautiful thing that happens in someone's life.
Did you know that when someone is baptised, it means that God the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, give the Christian many very special gifts? To be baptized in the Catholic Church means more then being sprinkled with water on one's head and receiving a Christian name.
The word 'Baptism' comes from a Greek word that means to 'plunge' or 'immerse'. To 'plunge' someone in water represents the person dying, being buried and resurrecting with Christ as a 'new creature.'
Some call this Sacrament 'the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit' because Baptism results in a new birth of water and the Spirit. Without it, no one can enter the Kingdom of God. [Jn. 3:5]
This 'bath' is called 'enlightenment'.
That is because those who are preparing to receive this Church Sacrament will receive spiritual teachings from the Holy Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Enlightened by Jesus Who is the Light of the world [Jn. 1:9], the new Christians now have the potential of becoming 'children of light'. [1 Thess. 5:5; Heb. 10:32; Eph. 5:8]
When Adam sinned by disobeying God, he called upon himself and all his descendants a spiritual and physical death." This means that the complete creation of every human being, as defined in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, would experience physical death (body) and spiritual death (soul/spirit) All would be condemned to die, to be eternally deprived of God's Divine Presence, because the sin of disobedience contaminated them.
note- the words 'all' and 'complete' DO NOT apply to MARY and JESUS
In the book of Genesis, it states, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it, and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man (Adam), 'You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.'" [Gen. 2:15-7]
"Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the "death of the soul." Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin." [Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1512] (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 403)
"If any one asserts, that the prevarication of Adam injured himself alone, and not his posterity; and that the holiness and justice, received of God, which he lost, he lost for himself alone, and not for us also, of that he, being defiled by the sin of disobedience, has only transfused death, and pains of the body, into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is "the death of the soul"; let him be anathema ("Anathema" means "excommunicated"): -- whereas he contradicts the apostle who says; By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned." [Council of Trent; The Fifth Session; Celebrated on the seventeenth day of the month of June, in the year 1546; Number 2.]
Now, when people are born, they are born in the image of Adam. [Gen. 5:3]
This means that they are born with a body, a soul/spirit that have been contaminated by the original sin. As Adam died, they are called to experience physical and spiritual death.
"When Adam had lived one hundred thirty years, he became the father of a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth." [Gen. 5:3]
The Sacrament of Baptism changes all that! It erases all traces of the original sin and personal sins that were committed by the person prior to receiving the Sacrament. (C.C.C. # 1263)
The Sacrament of Baptism gives the person a new life through Jesus. It brings the person back to God. But there is one thing that baptism does not change. That is the physical body of the person and its worldly inclinations towards sin! The body continues to be weak in nature, desiring to sin. Because of that, there is a constant spiritual and worldly battle within the person. (C.C.C. # 405)
Thousands of years ago, God was saddened because His chosen people would not obey His laws. The original sin within the people was continuously inclining their hearts, body and spirit towards wanting to sin.
God decided to change all that. He promised to make a New Covenant. [Jer. 31:31] A New Covenant means that God was going to make a new agreement with the people.
"The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah." [Jer. 31:31]
The new agreement, the beautiful promise, that God made to the people was that He would help them become good by writing His laws in their hearts. [Jer. 31:33]
That way, the people would always know what is right and wrong, what makes God happy or sad. The laws of God would be written on the people's mind all the time because the Holy Spirit of God would live in the people. The people would become living Temples of the Holy Spirit. [Ezek. 36:27; 1 Cor. 3:16] God would once more live with His people. [Jer. 31:33]
"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." [Jer. 31:31]
"I will put my Spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances." [Ezek. 36:27]
Over and above blessing the people with a free new heart (a spiritual inclination), God would place a free new spirit in them. With the free new heart and a new spirit, [Ezek. 11:19; 18:31; 36:26] the people would become God's people and He would be their God. [Ezek. 11:20]
"I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh." [Ezek. 11:19; 36:26]
"Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?" [Ezek. 18:31]
These were God the Father's promises that are found in the Old Testament. He would bless His children with the indwelling Holy Spirit, give His children a new heart and a new human spirit, and write His laws on their hearts.
When John the Baptist baptised Jesus, a beautiful thing happened. God showed to everyone who were present that 'Jesus' was 'the One Who is anointed by God'. That means that Jesus was God the Father's Chosen One, the One Who God had promised to send to save the people He loved. When Jesus was anointed, He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and the power of God. This anointing proved that Jesus was God! [Mt. 3:16-7; Mk. 1:24; Jn. 6:69; Acts 3:14]
The public life of Jesus began with His Baptism on the shore of the Jordan River. It ended with Jesus commanding the Apostles to "go and make disciples of all, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that He had commanded them." [Mt. 28:19-20] These Words of Jesus from the Holy Bible teach the Christians the great importance of the Sacrament of Baptism.
The gifts received from God during the Sacrament of Baptism are the most wonderful gifts that a person can receive during his life. The person who is baptised receives a new heart and a new spirit (spiritual inclination). The old heart of stone and spirit die during the Sacrament of Baptism. Also, God places His Holy Spirit within the person to help the new heart and the new spirit to remain righteous, obeying His Holy ways. [Ezek. 36:26] This is the most beautiful thing that happens to a person during the Sacrament of Baptism, something that most Christians do not even realize.
This transformation is what it means to be reborn. God actually creates a new heart and a new spirit within the convert who is being baptized. [Jn. 3:3, 5, 7; 1 Jn. 4:7, 5:1, 4] The person is truly not the same anymore, part of his creation having been changed.
When Jesus commanded the Apostles to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel to the whole creation, that those who believe be baptised and saved, Jesus made faith an important part of the Sacrament of Baptism along with the forgiveness of sin. [Mk. 16:15-6]
"And he said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.'" [Mk. 16:15-5]
A person cannot be baptised unless he sincerely repents of his sinful nature and has faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour, the Giver of the Holy Spirit and the new birth.
Before receiving the Sacrament of Baptism, the old self, the heart and human spirit, were stained by the original sin and all the other sins that the person had committed before being baptized. During the Sacrament of Baptism, all of this was crucified with Jesus so that the sinful body may be destroyed, the person no longer being a slave to sin.
"We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin." [Rom. 6:6]
When a person is baptised, the old inclination of his heart and spirit die and are buried with Christ.
"Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." [Rom. 6:4]
And, just as Jesus was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, within the one who is baptized, a new creation is raised from death to walk the new life that has received through Christ. [Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12]
"When you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead." [Col. 2:12]
Because the old heart and spirit were united in the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Christ (C.C.C. 1227), they are dead to sin. A new heart and spirit were created within the convert who has now been reborn. This rebirth takes place so that the new Christian can now answer his call to live his faith in Christ.