These are the Sacraments
as described by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.
I. The Sacrament of Baptism
The Sunshine, the Carbons, and the Rain could never Share the Life of the Plant, unless they Died
to their Lower Existence, and were Assumed or Taken-up into Plant Life. Plants could never Share the Sensitive
and Locomotive Power of Animals, unless they Died to their Lower
Existence, and were Taken-up by the Animal. None of the things in Lower Creation could Live-in Man, and Share his Arts, his Sciences, his Thinking and his Loves,
unless they Ceased to be what they were, submitting-to the Death of Knife,
Now, since there is a Life above the Human, the Christ-life, Man, or the 'Old Adam',
cannot Share-in it, unless he Dies to himself. But here, there is no
Confiscation or Violent Appropriation, as there is when the Cow eats Grass.
Christ will not Take us up-to Himself, unless we
Freely give ourselves to Him. This Death to the Life-of
Sin, this Sharing-of the Divine Life, is
Water: The Material Sign of Baptism
Water is used for Cleansing-from Dust and Dirt; therefore, it may be the Symbol of a Spiritual Washing-from
Original Sin. But, it can also Symbolize both Death
and Life. One can plunge-into Water and be Submerged-by it; then, it is a Symbol-of
Death. After the Plunge, One may Rise-from the Water; then it is a Token-of Resurrection. A
Descent-into Water has always been a description-of Penetration-into Deep and Mysterious Fecundities; the
Greeks Believed that the Whole Living Universe came-from Water.
From another Point-of-View, Water is an excellent Symbol-of Baptism, because it is an Open Sign-of
'Separation'. Water very often is the Natural Boundary between City and City, State and State, Nation and Nation, Continent and Continent, Tribe and Tribe. Those
who live on One Side-of Water, are "Separated" from those who live on the Other. In the Early Days, before Rapid
Communication, it was a Dramatic Experience to pass from One Territory to Another. This Symbolism, therefore, was well-fitted for the
Divine Master to indicate the separation-of the Christian from the
World, as the Water which was divided-in the Red Sea, was a Symbol-of the separation-of Israel, from the Slavery
Once the Jews had crossed the Red Sea, another Symbol was used to "Separate" them as the People-of
God, and that was Circumcision. Not only was it a Token-of their Covenant or Testament with
God, but it was required-of all Israelites who partook-of the Passover. In the New Testament, the same Order is followed.
Baptism, or Incorporation-into the Church, is the Condition-of
Reception-of the New Passover, the Eucharist.
As Ranchers brand their Cattle, as Ancient Romans branded their Slaves, so God branded
His Own, both in the Old Testament and in the New; with Circumcision-of the
Flesh in the Old, and Circumcision-of the Spirit, or
Baptism, in the New.
It may be Objected, what good does a little Water do, when poured-upon the Head-of a Child? One might just as well ask, what does a little
Water do when poured-into the Boiler. The Water in the Boiler can do nothing, of-and-by itself, nor can the Water on the Head-of a Child. But, when
the Water in the Boiler is United-to the Mind of an Engineer, it can Drive an Engine across a Continent, or
a Ship across the Sea. So too, when Water is United-to the Power of God, it can do more than change a Crystal
into Life. It can take a Creature, and Convert him into a Child-of God.
Naaman, in the Old Testament, was something like those today who think of the Power-of Baptism coming-from Water,
rather than from the Passion of Christ. Naaman was the General-of
the King-of Syria. A Maid who came from Samaria, said that she wished that he had known the Great Prophet-of Israel, for he could have Cured him. The King
then bade Naaman to-go-to Israel, where he met the Prophet, Elisha. Elisha said to him: "Go and wash Seven Times in the Jordan,
and thy Flesh shalt recover Health, and thou shalt be Clean". Naaman was Insulted, because he was told to go to that Insignificant River, Jordan,
"'Why', he said Angrily, 'I thought he would come out to meet me, and stand here invoking the Name of his God; that he would
Touch the Sore with his Hand, and Cure me. Has not Damascus its Rivers, Abana and Pharphar, such water as is not found in Israel?'"
(2Kings 5:11, 12).
His Servants, however, bade him Go Wash and be made Clean, and
he went-down and washed Seven (7) Times according to the Word of the Man of
God, and his Flesh was Restored, and was made like the Flesh
of a little-child, when he was made Clean. Then he Confessed that it was done by the
Power of God: "I have learned, he said, past doubt, that there is no God to be found in all the World,
save here in Israel" (2Kings 5:15).
Baptism and the Life of Christ
Under the Old Law, People believed-in, or yearned-for, a Messiah Who was to-come. Abraham
Believed, and his Faith was accounted-to him as Justice, and
he received Circumcision, as a Sign-of Faith.
What was the Faith, therefore, that Justified
Abraham, who was the Father-of the Jews? It was the Faith-in the Messiah,
or the Christ Who was to-come. There is no Salutary Faith,
except-in Christ. The Jews believed-in the Christ Who was to-come; we
believe-in Christ Who has-come. The Times have changed, but the Reality-of
Faith has not changed. There is only One (1) Faith. The
Faith that Saves all-Men, making them pass-from Carnal Generation
to Spiritual Birth.
Baptism of Christ - by Verrocchio, Andrea del -
from Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
The Reason Our Lord was Baptized, was because it
was part-of the Whole Process of Emptying, of Humiliation, of the
Incarnation. How could He be Poor
with us, if He did not in some-Way, conform-to our Poverty? How
could He come-among Sinful Men, to
Redeem them, if He did not also Reveal the necessity-of being Purged-from
Sin? There was no need-of Our Blessed Mother to submit-to the
Rite of Purification, as there was no need-of Our Lord to
submit-to the Rite of Baptism by John. He had
no need Personally, of-having Sins Remitted, but He
Assumed a Nature which was related-to Sinful Humanity. Though He
was without Sin, He appeared-to all-Men as a
Sinner, as He did on the Cross. That was why
He walked-into the Jordan with all the rest-of the Sinners,
to demand the Baptism of Penance in Remission-of
In a very special way, Baptism is related-to the Death
and Resurrection of Christ. In order to be
Saved, we have to Recapitulate-in our own Lives, the Death and the
Resurrection of Christ. What He went-through, we have
to go-through. He is the 'Pattern', and we have to be 'Modeled'-after Him.
He is the 'Die', we are the 'Coins' that have to be stamped-with His Image.
In all of the Sacraments, the Virtue of the
Passion and Resurrection of Christ, is in some-way applied-to us. In
Baptism, there is a very close-Relationship between the Burial and the
Resurrection. The Catechumen is plunged-into the Water, as Christ was plunged-into
Death. We say 'plunged-into' Death, because of the Words of
Our Lord: "I have a Baptism to Receive, and how Impatient am I for its Accomplishment" (Luke 12:50).
Baptism not only Incorporates us to the Death of that which is
Evil in us, but also to the Resurrection of
Christ, and therefore, to a New Life.
There was recently found an Inscription on a Baptistry, erected-in the Time-of Constantine in the
beginning-of the Fourth (4th) Century, and it reads: "The Waters received an Old Man,
but brought-forth a New Man". Saint Paul speaks-of this: "It follows, in fact, that when a Man becomes a New Creature in
Christ, his Old Life has disappeared, everything has become New about him" (2Corinthians 5:17).
The Blessing of Baptismal Water
Holy Mother the Church
She is His Immaculate Spouse, Who came out of His Opened Side on the Cross, just as Eve came out of the first Adam -
Saint Eugene de Mazenod
She is the Immaculate Bride of Christ - (NB - Christ has only One (1) Bride). Christ is Head of His Bride, the Church.
The Holy Spirit is the Soul of the One (1) True Church.
Just as the Holy Spirit came down upon Mary and wrought in her the Birth of Christ, so may He descend upon the Church, and bring about in Her
Maternal Womb (the Font), the Rebirth of God's Children. (Liturgy for Baptism)
At Baptism, the Womb-of Holy Mother the Church, Opens and Exults: "A Child is Born".
She Nurtures & Feeds God's Children through the Sacraments.
The Water used in Baptism is Blessed-on Holy Saturday, after the Litany
of Saints, whose Intercession is invoked-on all those who will Receive the Sacrament. Then follows a
Prayer, asking God to send-forth "the Spirit
of Adoption", on those who are to be Baptized. God has
One (1) Son, Who
exhausts the fullness-of His Glory, but Baptism gives
Him Millions (106 +) of Adopted Sons, because it makes them
partakers-of His Divine Nature. The Baptismal Water is Blessed-by a
Prayer, which recalls-beautifully all the Events-of Salvation
which were in any way connected-with Water, from the beginning-of the World, when God's Spirit Hovered-over the Water,
down-to the Commandment of Christ, to
Throughout the Old Testament, Water is represented-as a Sinister Element, and is supposed to be the
Abode-of Demons. To Confirm this Idea, the "Apocalypse" affirms that there will be no Sea in the
New Earth, after the Resurrection of the Just. Water, because of its Unholy
Association, is Exorcised on Holy Saturday, that it may become "Holy and
Innocent". The Priest then takes the Water, divides it into Four (4) Quarters-of the Globe, to-Symbolize the
Four (4) Waters that branched-out-of Paradise, and covered the Earth. Next, he
Breathes-upon the Water Three (3) Times, Symbolizing the Holy Spirit,
then dips the Paschal Candle (the Symbol-of the Risen Christ),
in it Three (3) Times. Here, the Consecration Formula uses the Symbolism-of Human
Generation: "May the Power of the Holy Spirit descend into this Brimming Font, and make the Whole Substance of this
Water, Fruitful in Regenerative Power". And again, "Just as the Holy Spirit came down upon Mary and wrought in her the
Birth of Christ, so may He descend upon the Church, and bring about in Her Maternal Womb (the Font), the Rebirth of God's Children".
The Baptismal Font in a Church is now generally placed as-far-from the
Altar, as possible. It often is in a Corner, to the Left-of the Entrance. In the Early Church,
the Baptistry was sometimes placed outside the Church.
The Reason is, that the Person about to be Baptized, was not yet a Member-of the
Church and, therefore, was not allowed to Participate-in its Mysteries.
The Baptismal Font, if properly erected, has steps going-down into it, to indicate that it is
a Pool. Its shape was Octagonal, because the Resurrection took-place-on the
Eighth (8th) Day, or the Day-after the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday).
Definition: Eighth (8th) Day = Day after Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) = Sunday
In the Old Testament, Circumcision was always performed-on the Eighth (8th) Day. The son that David
had through his Sin with Bethsabee, Died on the
Seventh (7th) Day. The First Seven (7) Days, were Symbols-of the
Bonds of Sin; hence, the Eighth (8th) Day Represented the Breaking-of those
Bonds, and the Liberation from them. In the New Testament,
Easter is the Eighth (8th) Day Par Excellence, and that was the Reason why
Baptism was administered-on Easter.
Baptism in the Early Church
Baptism was usually given the Night before Easter Sunday,
but the Baptismal Ceremonies began-with the opening-of Lent. At that time,
all of the Candidates, Converts or Catechumens, had their Names inscribed-by a Priest in the Church. They were then
brought-before a Bishop, who examined the Candidates concerning their Moral Life. Generally, the Bishop would bring-out the fact that the Candidate for
Baptism had lived-under Satan, but now, he must abandon
him. This meant a Conflict and a
Battle. That is why we still have in the Church, the Gospel of the
Temptation of Christ, for the First (1st)
Sunday of Lent, because it was the Theme-of the Bishop to the Catechumens at the
beginning-of their Instructions.
The Ceremony of Baptism took place then in Three (3) Places
and in like manner today:
Before the entrance to the Church, which in the early Church
was at the beginning-of Lent;
Inside the Church, and before one comes to the Baptistry, which happened
in the middle-of Lent, in the early Church; and
Finally, the Baptistry itself, on Holy Saturday Night, or Easter Morning.
In the Baptismal Ritual, the Stole of the Priest, at the beginning-of the
Baptism, is Violet in color; this is because in the early
Church, the First Part of the Ceremony of Baptism was during
Lent. Toward the End-of the Ceremony, the Priest changes his Stole to White, following again
the Tradition-of the Early Church, when Baptism was administered-on
Outside the Church
The Baptism begins with a Dialogue. The Ceremony begins with: "What do you
ask of the Church of God"? The Answer is: "Faith". The Priest asks: "What does Faith
offer you"? The Candidate or his Sponsors answer: "Eternal Life". Note the close-connection between
Faith and Baptism. After His
Resurrection, Our Lord said to His Apostles:
"Go out all over the World, and Preach the Gospel to the Whole of Creation; he who Believes and is Baptized, will be Saved; he who
Refuses Belief, will be Condemned" (Mark 16:15, 16).
Our Blessed Lord, First, put
Belief before being Baptized. In order to be Saved, One must
Believe, and be Baptized. One can be Saved by
Faith, without the Sacramental Sign of
Baptism; that is, through Desire, or by Martyrdom, but, he who Refuses-to
Believe, will be Condemned: "For the Man who Believes in Him, there is no Rejection; the
Man who does not Believe, is already Rejected; he has not found Faith in the Name of God's only-begotten Son" (John 3:18).
The Dialogue begins with "What do you ask of the Church of God"? Why the
Church? Because the Church 'Precedes' the Individual, not the Individual, the
Church. When a Person is Baptized, he is not to be thought-of as another 'Brick' that is added-to an
Edifice, but rather as another Cell, United-to the Christ-Life. The
Church expands-from the Inside→Out, not from the Outside→In.
The Foundation-Cell of the Church is Christ, and through
Baptism, there is a Multiplication-of the Cells of His Body, until there is a Differentiation-of
Functions and the Building-up of the Whole Church. As a child is formed-in the Womb-of the Mother, so the
Church, as a Spiritual Mother, Forms and gives Birth-to the children-of
God. The Christian Life, resulting-from
Baptism, is not an Individual and Solitary experience. It is a Life in the
Church and by the Church. As Saint Paul expresses it: "Through Faith
in Christ Jesus, you are all now God's sons" (1Corinthians 12:4).
Baptism does not, First of all, establish an Individual Relationship
with Christ, and then Accidentally make One a Member of His Body, the
Church. It is, the other-way-around. The Baptized Person is
First made a Member-of the Church, and thus he is Incorporated-into
Christ. Baptism is Social by-Nature. We are made Members-of Christ's
Body, before being Established-in our Individual Relationship with Christ:
"We, too, all of us have been Baptized into a Single Body by the Power of a Single Spirit, Jews and Greeks, Slaves and Free Men alike;
we have all been given Drink at a Single Source, the One Spirit" (1Corinthians 12:13).
In Baptism, Infants are Incorporated-into Christ,
not through an Act-of their own Will, but through an Act-of the Sponsor, who Represents the
Church, and Assumes Responsibility-for the Spiritual Education of the Infant. The Parents, of course,
must Consent-to the Baptism; the Church refuses-to
Baptize anyone, against his or her Will, or even to Baptize an Infant, unless there is
some Guarantee that the Child will be Raised-in the Faith. The Sponsors are Representatives-of the
Church, not Representatives-of the Parents. They Witness the Incorporation-of the Infant into the Fellowship-of Christ.
It may be asked why should a Child be Baptized, when he has nothing to say about it? Well, why should a Child be fed? Is he
asked his Advice before he is given the Family Name? If he receives the Name-of the Family, the Fortune-of the Family, the Rank-of the Family, the Inheritance-of the Family,
why should he not also Receive the Religion-of the Family? In our own Country, we do not wait until Children are Twenty-One (21),
and then allow them to decide whether or not they want to become American Citizens, or whether they want to speak the English Language. They are born Americans; so we in
Baptism are born Members-of the Mystical Body of Christ. If
One waits until he is Twenty-One (21), before learning something about his Relation-to the Lord
Who Redeemed him, he will have already learned another Catechism, the Catechism-of his
Passions, his Concupiscences, and his Lusts.
Though the Hebrews had passed-through the Red Sea, they were, nevertheless, followed by the Egyptians; so too, though a Person is
he is still followed-by Satan, throughout his Life. That is why the
Baptized Person is asked to Renounce Satan, and all of his
Seductions. This Renouncing-of Satan, has as its Parallel, the Attachment-to
Christ, or the Transfer-from One (1) Master to
Another. In Baptism today, the Ceremonies-of
Exorcism, follow rapidly-upon one another, and thereby have Lost the Significance which they had in the
Early Church, when they were separated-by Several Weeks. This
Evil, that the Baptized are invited-to Combat,
is not just a Moral Force or a vague kind of Paganism; it is a Cosmic Reality, for the
Devil is, as Our Lord said, the
Prince of this World. That is why, even before the Church begins the
Baptism of a Person, it Blesses Water, Oil, and Salt, in some instances even
Exorcisms, in order to snatch them out-of the Power of Satan.
There is a Triple (3) renouncing-of Satan ,
which corresponds-to the Threefold (3) Profession-of Faith:
Question: Do you renounce Satan?
Answer: I do renounce him.
Question: And all his works?
Answer: I do renounce them.
Question: And all his allurements?
Answer: I do renounce them.
This Question has reference-to the Words of Saint Paul to the Romans: "Let us Abandon the Ways of Darkness, and
put on the Armor of Light" (Romans 13:12).
Thus, the Triple (3) Profession-of Faith,
accompanies the Triple (3) Renouncing-of Satan, and is bound-to
a Gesture; namely, the Anointing-with the Oil of Catechumens. The One who
Baptizes, dips his Thumb in Oil, and then Traces a
Cross, on the Breast and between the Shoulders
of the One to be Baptized. Formerly, the Oil was rubbed all-over
the Body. This was also done on Athletes who were engaging-in some Sport in the Arena, but here, the
Signification is Spiritual, for it is the beginning-of a Spiritual
Competition (1Corinthians 9:24-27).
The Exorcisms look both to the Future, as-well-as
to the Past, to remind the Catechumen that the Struggle against the Forces of
Satan, is a Confrontation of God and the
Devil, the Devil seeking to-Dispute the
Souls which Our Lord Won, as he Tempted
Our Lord in the Desert.
In the Early Church, the Renouncing-of Satan was done,
facing the West. This is because the West is where, the Light of the Sun, disappears; therefore, it was regarded even
by the Ancient Greeks, as the place-of the Gates of Hades; also, because
Christ, on the Last Day, said He would come-from the East to the West:
"When the Son of Man comes, it will be like the Lightning that springs up from the East and flashes across to the West"
(Matthew 24:27). The Baptismal Liturgy of Milan, reads: "Ye were turned to the East, for he
who Renounced the Demon, turns himself to Christ. He sees Him Face to face".
In the Exorcism, the Priest says: "I Exorcise you, Unclean Spirit,
in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Come forth, from this Servant of God [name] for He Commands you, Spirit Accursed and Damned,
He Who walked upon the Sea, and extended His Right Hand to Peter, as he was sinking. Therefore, Cursed Devil, acknowledge your Condemnation and Pay Homage
to the True and Living God; Pay Homage to Jesus Christ, His Son, and to the Holy Spirit, and depart from the Servant of God [name], for Jesus Christ, Our
Lord and our God, has called him [her] to His Holy Grace and Blessing, and to the Font of Baptism".
When the Priest 'Signs' the Forehead with his Thumb in the
Form-of a Cross, he says: "Then never dare, Cursed Devil, to Violate the Sign of the
Cross which we are making upon his [her] Forehead through Christ Our Lord".
The various Exorcisms, the Laying-on of Hands, Breathings, and Sign-of the
Cross, are done in the Vestibule of the Church. The Second
(2nd) Act of the Ceremonies takes place at the Entrance of the Baptistry. The
Evil Spirit has no Authority in the Holy Place; that is why the
Final Exorcism of the Devil, is at the Entrance.
The Body in Baptism
Five (5) External Senses -
Hearing - Ears
Taste - Mouth
Touch - Hands
Smell - Nose
Sight - Eyes
Because the Body is to-become, by Baptism, the
Temple-of God, because God dwells-in it, it is fitting that it
have an important role in the Sacrament. Each of the Five (5)
Senses are Spiritualized in the
Sacraments: Hearing, Taste,
Touch, Smell, and Sight.
The Ears of the Baptized Person, are
Touched, with the Words, "Be thou Opened". The Hebrew Word
Our Lord used, in Opening the Ears of the Deaf Man, was
"Ephpheta". The Assumption-is that the Person, up-to this Moment, has been
Deaf to the Hearing-of the Word-of God. Now his
Ears are Opened, so that he can Understand the Word-of God, and
the Confidences which God exchanges-with him, about the Kingdom-of Heaven.
Tasting is 'Testing'. Before Food goes into the Stomach, it passes
through the Laboratory-of the Mouth, for either Approval or Disapproval. In the Spiritual
Order, the Taste is not for Body-Food, but
Soul-Food; the Material Element, here used as a Symbol-for Tasting Divine Wisdom, and the
Eucharist is Salt. Placing Salt on the Tongue of the Candidate
for Baptism, the Church says: "Satisfy
him [her] with the Bread of Heaven that he [she] may be Forever Fervent-in Spirit, Joyful in Hope, Zealous in Your Service.
Scripture bids us: "How Gracious the Lord is. Taste and Prove it"
The Symbolism is that the Truths-of Faith, Infused-at
Baptism, will be preserved-from Error; that the Person may Reflect the Savor-of
Christ in his Life, and this Taste-of Salt may be converted-into a yearning-for the
Bread of Life, the Eucharist, which is the End-of all the
Sacraments. When the Faith is-gone, everything is-gone, as
Our Lord Warned:
"You are the Salt of the Earth; if Salt loses its Taste, what is there left to give Taste to it? There is no
more to be done with it, but throw it out of doors, for Men to Tread it under-foot" (Matthew 5:13)
The Body, during the Ceremony, is Touched in
Three (3) Places, with Oil: (1)
- on the Breast, (2) - between the
Shoulders, and (3) - on the Head. The
First Two Anointings are with the Oil of
Catechumens; the Last with
Holy Chrism. The Sign-of
the Cross is made:
On the Breast with Oil, to indicate that the
Heart must Love God;
Between the Shoulders to remind us that we are to-carry the
Cross of Christ;
On the Head, as a Sign-of Eternal Election in
Christ Our Lord.
The Church uses Three (3) Oils in its
the Oil-of Catechumens at Baptism
and Holy Orders,
the Holy Chrism at Baptism,
Confirmation and Episcopal Ordinations, and
the Oil-of the Sick, used in the Anointing of the Sick.
None of these Oils are Appropriate, for use in the home.
The "Apocalypse", describing the End-of the World, says the
Destroying Angel was "to
Attack men, such as did not bear God's Mark
on their Foreheads" (Revelation 9:4). The Elect will be known,
because they have already been 'Signed' and have Lived-up to all the Cross commits them to, in this Life.
The Last Anointing, with Chrism, which
takes place after Baptism, is the Symbol-of the Holy Spirit. In the
Old Testament, Oil was poured-upon the Head of the Priest (Exodus 29:7), and upon Kings (1Kings 10:1), to
Render them Holy unto the Lord. Pulled-out-of the
Powers of Darkness by Baptism, the
Christian is now Transported-into the Light of God, and into His
Kingdom; that is why he becomes 'Royal'. Saint Leo bade the Faithful:
"Recognize, O Christian, thy Dignity".
We 'Associate' Goodness with Sweet Odors, and
Badness with Foul Odors. We have a
Nose for-Detecting the Healthy and the Unhealthy.
This Sense of Smell is Spiritualized in
Baptism, and is made to Symbolize Sanctity or
The Church speaks-of Saints as
Dying in the "Odor of Sanctity". Sometimes their Bodies,
after Death, give-forth a Sweet Odor. The
Saintly Cure-of Ars, would walk along a Line-of Several Hundred
Persons, waiting-to go-to Confession. He would pick-out One here-and-there, and put them First in-Line. When asked
how he could do it, he answered: "I can Smell Sin". As the Church 'Signs'
the Nostrils of the Catechumen, She says:
"I Sign you on the Nostrils, that you may Perceive the Sweet Fragrance of Christ".
The Eyes of the Candidate are Anointed, as the
Church says: "I Sign you on the Eyes, that you may
See God's Glory". By this is Symbolized a
New kind-of Vision; the Things-of God, in-addition-to the
Things-of Earth: "Fix (your) Eyes on what is Unseen, not on what we can See. What we can See, lasts but for a Moment; what is
Unseen, is Eternal" (2Corinthians 4:18). Our Blessed Lord Spoke-of some who had
Eyes, and yet were Blind, because they had no
Faith: "Have you Eyes that cannot See?" (Mark 8:18).
As a further Example-of the Role-of Vision, a Lighted
Candle is given-to the One Baptized. He is Bidden to-receive this
Burning Light, and keep the Grace of his
Baptism, without Blame. This refers-to the Words-of Our
Lord: "Your Light must Shine so Brightly before Men, that they can See your Good Works, and Glorify your Father
Who is in Heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
We have the same Eyes at Night, as during the Daytime, but we cannot see at Night because
we Lack the Light-of the Sun. So there is a difference-in Persons, Looking-upon the same-Reality, such as
Life, Birth, Death, the World. The Baptized Person has a
Light, which the others do not have. Sometimes the Person with the Light-of Faith,
will regard the other Person as Ignorant or Stupid, but actually, he is only Blind. On the
other hand, the One who is Baptized, must not believe that his 'Superior Insights', are due to his own
Reason, or his own Merits. They are solely due-to
the Light that has come-to him, through Christ.
There are various Lights in the World:
the Light-of the Sun, which Illumines our Senses;
the Light-of Reason, which Illumines Science and Culture;
and the Light-of Faith, which Illumines Christ and
The Baptism Itself
The actual Moment-of Baptism, comes when the Priest pours Water on the
Head of a Person, saying: "I Baptize thee, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit".
The Personal Pronoun "I", refers not only-to the Priest, but to Christ,
Who Speaks-through the Tongue, given Him
by the Church, as He Spoke-through the
Tongue, given Him by Mary. As the Portals-of the
Flesh, once opened-to the Life-of the Human, now the Womb-of the Church
Opens and Exults: "A Child is Born".
Saint Augustine said this is a Greater Act than the Creation-of the World, for it Blots-out our Debt of
Sin to God; Original Sin if
it be an Infant, Original and Personal Sins, if it be an Adult.
The Full Effects of this Act will be mentioned later.
The Lighted Candle and Baptism
Because the Sacrament of Baptism opened the Eyes-of the
Soul to-'See', it was called the Sacrament of Illumination: "Remember
those early days, when the Light first came to you" (Hebrews 10:32). Once, asleep-to the Wonders-of Redemption,
Eyes are now awake to-receive Christ, the Light of the World
(John 1:19) and to become Sons of Light (1Thessalonians 5:5).
Because Baptism is the Sacrament of Faith, it is the
Sacrament of Light. This Baptismal Candle, in the early Church,
was always kept by the Person Baptized, and was Lighted-on the Anniversary of One's
Baptism, and on Feast Days, and brought-to the Church for the
Easter Vigil and the Renewal-of Baptismal Vows. Then later, if the Person was Married, the
Candle was Lighted-at his Wedding. If he was Ordained, it was Lighted-at his
Ordination, and when he Died, it was Lighted-again, as he went-to his
The White Robe of Baptism
That the Body is now, the Temple of
God, is further indicated-by putting-on a White Robe, after the
Baptism itself. Today, this is often only a small White Cloth, but its Symbolism still remains:
"The Body is for the Lord".
In the Transfiguration, Our Blessed Lord's
Garment was White (Matthew 17:2) as a Symbol-of Holiness and
Purity. White was the Color-of the 'Vestments', in the Old Testament.
It was the Color-of the Veil, which divided the Sanctuary. It was the Attire-of the High Priest. It was the Color-of
Festivity (Ecclesiastes 9:8), and of Triumph (Apocalypse 6:2),
and a Symbol-of Glory and Majesty (Matthew 28:3). The
Prayer that is said at Baptism is a Petition that this Garment, be kept
without Stain: "Receive this White Garment. Never let it become Stained, so
that when you stand before the Judgment Seat of Our Lord, you may have Life Everlasting". Dante, in his Practical Knowledge of Human Nature,
knowing that many do not keep it Sinless, described Purgatory
as a "Place where we go, to Wash our Baptismal Robes".
The White Robe further Symbolizes the Recovery-of the Vestment
of Light, which was Man's before the Fall. As Gregory of Nyssa said:
"Thou hast driven us out of Paradise, and called us back; Thou hast taken away the Fig Leaves, that Garment of our Misery, and
clothed us once more with the Robe of Glory".
Because Baptism in the Early Church was by
Immersion, there was an additional Symbolism attached-to the New Garment that was put on, namely, to signify
the entirely New Life that came-to One, after One was "Buried with Christ in His Death" (Romans 6:4). The Neophyte
did not resume the Clothing he had taken off. He put on a New White Garment, which he wore at all Services
during the entire Easter Octave. A week later, in the Early Church,
there was "the Sabbath of the Removal of White Robes". These were Solemnly Taken-off and Deposited-in the
Treasury of the Baptismal Church.
Effects of Baptism
The First Effect of Baptism, is
the Restoration-to Friendship-with God, which was Lost by
Original Sin. The Baptize Person is made a Partaker-of the Divine
Nature, and therefore, a Sharer-in Divine Life. There is more-Difference between a
Soul in the State of Grace, which begins-in
Baptism, and a Soul not in the State of Grace,
than there is between a Baptized Person in the State of Grace
on this Earth, and a Soul in-Glory, in
Heaven. The Relation-of the First Two (2) is the Relationship between a Crystal and an Elephant:
One cannot beget the Other. The Second Relationship is that of an Acorn and an Oak. The Acorn has the
Potential-of becoming an Oak; the Baptized Person in Grace, has the
Potential-to enjoy the Glory of God. That is why Baptism is said to
make the Person a New Creature: "In fact, when a Man becomes a New Creature in Christ,
his Old Life has disappeared, everything has become New about him" (2Corinthians 5:17).
This Sharing-of the Divine Nature, makes us the Adopted sons-of the
Eternal Father. Just as Christ is the Divine Son
Incarnate; so we become 'Adopted' Children, as-distinct-from the 'Natural' Son:
"But all those who did welcome Him, He Empowered to become the Children of God" (John 1:12)
"Those who follow the Leading of God's Spirit are all God's Sons" (Romans 8:14)
The Dauphin, the Father of Louis XVI, gave a lesson on the effect of Baptism to his
Two (2) Sons. They had been Baptized as Infants, but in
emergency. It was only Years Later, when they had reached the Age-of Reason, that the Ceremonies were
performed. Immediately after Baptism, it was noted that the names of the
Two (2) Children were Registered after a Common Laborer about the Palace. The Royal Father said:
"See, my children, in the Eyes of God, Men of all conditions are Equal. In His Sight, Faith and Virtue are all that matters.
One day you will be Greater than this child in the Eyes of the World; but if he is more Virtuous than you, then he will be Greater than you in the Sight
This likeness-to God, or the unlikeness, will be the determinant-of our Future State. A Mother
knows her Daughter is her own, because that Child shares her Nature; a Mother also knows the Child next-door is not her own, because of the diversity-of
Nature and Parentage. So it will be with Christ, on the Last Day. He
will look-into a Soul and see His Divine Resemblance, and
say: "Come, ye Blessed of My Father. I am the Natural Son, and you are the Adopted Children"; but to those who have
not that Likeness, Christ will say: "I know you not" -- and it is a
Terrible Thing not to be known-by God.
Another Effect, is Incorporation-in the Mystical
Body of Christ. Baptism is not just a 'Bond', existing-between the Person and
Christ: to be United-to Christ, is to be United-with the
Church, for the Church is His Body. The
Church is not an Organization, but an Organism.
As Circumcision was an Incorporation-into the Spiritual Body of Israel, so Baptism is Incorporation-into the
Spiritual Body of the Church. A Physical Body is made-up-of
Millions-of Cells, and all of these Coordinate and Cooperate into a Unity (1),
thanks-to the Soul which Organizes them, the Invisible Mind
which Guides them, and the Visible Head which Directs them. So too, all the Baptized are Incorporated-into the
Mystical Body, thanks to the Holy Spirit, which
Vivifies it; thanks to the Invisible Head,
Christ, Who Rules the Organism of the
Church; and thanks-to the Visible Head, its Vicar of Christ, who Directs
it on Earth.
The Two (2) most common Errors concerning the
Church are these:
(1) The Belief that Christians came
First, and then the Church; and
(2) That to Justify the Church, one must go to the New
Testament -- which Antedated the Church.
In regard to the First (1st) Error, the
Christians did not come, before the Church. The
Physical Body of Christ was the Beginning-of the
Church, and the Apostles constituted its First Prolongation. The
Church, or the Body of Christ, was not composed-of the
Will of Individual Christians; the Latter were not
First brought-to Our Lord, and then Inducted in some-Way, into the
Church. The Church has its Origin not in the
Will of Man, nor in the Flesh of Man, but in the
Will of Christ, Our Lord. The Apostles were the Ministers-of the
Lord Himself. The World is Called-into the Church, but the World does not make
the Church, by sending Men into it.
The Church, Fashioned by the Will of Christ
Birth of Eve,
the Bride of Adam,
from Adam's side
Birth of the Church,
the Bride of Christ,
from Christ's Side
"Water and Blood Symbolized Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. From these Two (2) Sacraments the Church is
Born: from Baptism, the Cleansing Water that gives Rebirth and Renewal from the Holy Spirit, and from the Holy Eucharist.
Since the Symbols of Baptism and the Eucharist flowed from His Side, it was from His Side that Christ 'Fashioned' the Church,
as He had 'Fashioned' Eve from the side of Adam".
Saint John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church
Regarding the Second (2nd) Error, the
Church was in-Existence throughout the entire Roman Empire, before a Single Book of the New Testament was written. Long before Saint Paul
wrote any of his Epistles, he said that he had "Persecuted the Church". The
Church was in-Existence before he wrote about it so beautifully. The Gospel came-out-of the
Church; the Church did not come-out-of the
History of the Bible
Saint Athanasius, 4th Century
Bishop of Alexandria
The Bible is the name given to the Collection of Manuscripts which form the
Scriptures of the Christian Religion. The New
Testament was compiled by a Catholic Ecclesiastical Committee, which selected from a
Large Collection of Early Christian Writings; it First
appeared in its present form in the Festal Epistle of Saint Athanasius (367 CE).
By A.D. 400 these Books were generally accepted as Catholic
Christian Scripture, although no Official Action was taken by the Church
until 1546 at the Council of Trent, when the Church
enumerated the Books which must be considered "as Sacred and Canonical". They are the
Seventy-Three (73) Books found in Catholic Editions,
Forty-Six (46) in the Old Testament and Twenty-Seven (27)
in the New Testament.
Because Baptism makes us a Cell in the Body of Christ,
it is called the Door-of the Church. Each new Generation of Baptized Christians
is Taken-up-into that Already-existing Unity (1). Saint Peter, changing the Analogy, describes those who are
Inducted-into the Church, as 'Living Stones':
"Draw near to Him; He is the Living Antitype of that Stone which Men Rejected, which God has Chosen and Prized; you too must be
built-up on Him, Stones that Live and Breathe, into a Spiritual Fabric" (1Peter 2:4,5).
The very fact that the Ceremony of Baptism begins outside-of the
Church, or at the Door-of the Church, and that the Adult to be
Baptized is led-in by a Stole, confirms the fact that the Unbaptized is not yet a Member-of the
The Infusion of Virtues
of the Holy Spirit
Fear of the Lord
Infused Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit reside within the Essence of Man's Natural Soul, giving
its Facilities/Powers of Intellect and Will the Capacity for Supernatural Acts.
Another Effect is the Infusion-of Virtues. A
Virtue is something like a Habit. There are Two (2) Kinds of Habits: Infused-Habits,
such as the Infused-Habit of Swimming, which a Duck has when it is Born; and Acquired-Habits, such as Playing the Violin, or Speaking a Foreign Language.
Baptism Infuses Seven (7) Virtues
into the Soul, the First Three (3) of which relate-to
God Himself, namely, Faith,
Hope, and Charity. We are thus enabled-to 'Believe' in
Him, 'Hope' in Him, and 'Love' Him. But
Four (4) other Virtues, called
Moral Virtues, are related-to the means-of Attaining God; these are
Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and
Temperance. By the Right use-of things for God's sake, by
Paying our Debts to God, by being Brave about Witnessing our
Faith, and Temperate about even the Legitimate Pleasures-of-Life,
we reach God more quickly.
One of the Reasons there is little Difficulty in convincing children of the Existence-of
God and the Divinity of the
Church, is that they already have the Gift of Faith Infused-in their
Souls at the Moment-of Baptism. This Faith,
however, requires Practice, and Intellectual Fortification. If one woke up suddenly and became endowed with the Gift of Playing the Organ, he would still
have to Practice to Retain the Gift. So, even though the Gift of Faith is Infused, it nevertheless requires
Practice. In the Adult, Baptism demands Faith, but
Faith supposes that One has already received the Word of God:
"Only, how are they to call upon Him until they have learned to Believe in Him? And how are they to Believe in
Him, until they Listen to Him?" (Romans 10:14)
It may be asked why Adults, who already have the Faith, are said to need
Baptism. If the Adult is already Justified by
Faith, Baptism is necessary in-order-that he may be Incorporated Visibly and
Sacramentally to Christ in His Church.
Furthermore, they Receive, in virtue-of Baptism, a 'Fuller' Grace.
In the case of Children, the Habit-of Virtue, becomes a Conscious Act, later on. The
Faith is not just a Profession-of Doctrine, but is the Commitment-to Our Lord and
Another Effect, which is closely bound-up with Grace, is the
Indwelling-of the Trinity in our Souls, from which arises a
Triple (3) Relationship with the Godhead.
First (1st), is the Relationship-with God the Father. The
Baptized may now say "Our Father". By Nature, we are only Creatures-of
God; by Baptism, we are Sons:
"The Spirit you have now received is not, as of old, a Spirit of Slavery, to Govern you by Fear; it is the
Spirit of Adoption, which makes us cry out, Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15).
We also have Relationship with the Son of God, Who
is "the Firstborn of many Brethren" (Romans 8:29). The Baptized Person
will, therefore, try to 'Reproduce', in his Soul the Image-of Christ.
As it is put in the Imitation of Christ:
"Who will give me, Lord, to find You and You alone, and to offer You my Whole Heart ... You in me, and I in
You, and therefore together, evermore to dwell".
Finally, there is Union-with the Holy Spirit. At the Moment-of
Baptism, the Priest says, "Depart, Unclean Spirit, and give Place to the Holy Spirit". Saint John writes:
"This is our Proof that we are Dwelling in Him and He in us; He has given us a Share of His Own Spirit"
(1John 4:13). The Spirit within us is a 'Moving' Spirit,
Illumining the Mind and
Strengthening the Will, to Sanctify Ourselves
"Nor does this Hope delude us; the Love of God has been poured out in our Hearts by the Holy Spirit, Whom we
have Received" (Romans 5:4).
The World, therefore, is divided-into the "Once Born" and the "Twice
Born": between the Sons-of the Old Adam, and the Sons-of the New Adam,
Christ; between the 'Unregenerate' and the 'Regenerate'. There is a real Inequality
in the World. There are "Superior" and "Inferior" Peoples, but the
Basis-of Distinction is not Color, Race, Nationality, or Wealth. The Superior People of the Earth are the
Supermen, the God-men; the Inferior People are those who have been called-to that Superior State, but as yet,
have not embraced it. But the "Reborn" must follow the Laws-of Divine Life,
for which the Lord has prepared other Sacraments.