New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Friday, August 29, 2008

Baptism - Grace from above

This Sunday the 31st August 2008, twins will be baptized into our extended family circle. This is a perfect time to contemplate the writings of the early Church on such a great sacrament and the Graces confirmed on the recipient of this Sacrament.

Clement of Alexandria

"When we are baptized, we are enlightened. Being enlightened, we are adopted as sons. Adopted as sons, we are made perfect. Made perfect, we become immortal . . . ‘and sons of the Most High’ [Ps. 82:6]. This work is variously called grace, illumination, perfection, and washing. It is a washing by which we are cleansed of sins, a gift of grace by which the punishments due our sins are remitted, an illumination by which we behold that holy light of salvation" (The Instructor of Children 1:6:26:1 [A.D. 191]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

"If any man does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who, even without water, will receive baptism, for the Savior calls martyrdom a baptism [Mark 10:38]. . . . Bearing your sins, you go down into the water; but the calling down of grace seals your soul and does not permit that you afterwards be swallowed up by the fearsome dragon. You go down dead in your sins, and you come up made alive in righteousness" (Catechetical Lectures 3:10, 12 [A.D. 350]).

Basil the Great

"For prisoners, baptism is ransom, forgiveness of debts, the death of sin, regeneration of the soul, a resplendent garment, an unbreakable seal, a chariot to heaven, a royal protector, a gift of adoption" (Sermons on Moral and Practical Subjects 13:5 [A.D. 379]).

Lastly, Adam and Eve were created in a state of original grace or spiritual life. As long as they remained in God’s friendship, that original grace remained. But as soon as they sinned, they lost this precious gift, without which we cannot enjoy friendship with God or eternal life in heaven.

Adam and Eve could not pass on to their children a spiritual gift they no longer had. Through the sacrament of baptism, sanctifying grace is restored to the soul. This is why babies are baptized. The sacrament restores sanctifying grace to the soul, makes them children of God, and enables them to inherit heaven.

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