March 2014 Print

The Last Word

Dear Readers,

Even though we uphold the dignity of baptism as one of the seven sacraments, we are somewhat oblivious of its real nature and effects. Most of us were baptized a few days after birth. Our parents brought us to the church and our godfather or godmother answered the questions put to us by the priest. Our godparents then pronounced the Creed on our behalf and solemnly promised to forsake Satan and all his pomps. Several years later, when we attained the use of reason, we were (hopefully) instructed in all these matters, but few of us really appreciate how profoundly baptism has forever changed our lives. Over time, the reality of being baptized has, for many of us, become ordinary and mundane.

Guided by St. Paul, let us quickly review the profound truths of baptism. The Apostle to the Gentiles proclaims: “Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death? For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). In these few words, St. Paul explains that baptism is the sacrament which joins our lives to the life of Christ. Even more, baptism conforms our lives to Christ; we die with him and with him rise from the dead!

This sacrament is much more than an external ceremony. Its inward effects are much more important than the outward signs. Through baptism we are forever linked to Christ. From the moment when water flows over our foreheads and the formal words are pronounced, we die to our purely natural life, one filled with sin and anxiety, and are resurrected in the supernatural life of Christ. Our existence takes on an entirely new orientation, for we are called to heaven! We may continue living in the same circumstances as before, performing the same daily duties, yet after baptism we are no longer children of the devil, bound for hell, but children of God, called to eternal bliss.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Jürgen Wegner