"I baptize you in the name of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
Just as no infant can ever re-enter the womb of its mother and be born again into this world, no infant or child or adult can ever be re-baptized or reborn of water. Once is enough for all eternity in both cases.
I recently read the commentary on Baptism from the Catechism of the Council of Trent. Amazing what you can learn when you take the time and effort!
I’ve read many times the scripture about Christ’s own baptism and I admit, I was a puzzled by it as John the Baptist, who seemed reluctant at first to do it, did it anyway when Jesus insisted on it. (Matthew 3:14, “Then Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to dissuade him, saying, ‘Why do you come to me? I am the one who needs to be baptized by you.’ But Jesus said to him in reply, ‘For the present, let it be thus. It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all that righteousness demands.’ Then he acquiesced.”)
So it wasn’t just a cool thing to do one sunny afternoon, it was proper to fulfill God’s plan. Certainly Jesus carried no guilt of original sin that needed washing away, like the rest of us born into the world. So why was his baptism so necessary? The Catechism of Trent quotes “St. Augustine who said, ‘From the moment that Christ is immersed in water, water washes away all sins’ and again ‘the Lord is baptized, not because he had occasion to be cleansed, but by the contact of his pure flesh to purify the waters, and impart to them the power of cleansing.’”
Wow! Think of that! From the moment He walked into the river and His flesh made contact with the water, it forever transformed the plain water on earth to then, when simultaneously used with specific words, to have power to cleanse us. This applies to all water everywhere for all time.
What happened next? Having fulfilled the wish of God, for Jesus to have entered the water, offering it the power to cleanse, “the Holy Ghost descends in the form of a dove---and the heavens, into which we are enabled to enter by baptism, are thrown open.”
While Jesus was engaged in prayer after also having been baptized, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit
descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven:
"You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased." Luke 3:21-22
(Mark 16:15 “Then He said to them, ‘Go forth into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”)
Unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. It is through this rebirth in water that we find the portal to heaven.
Through baptism we die with Christ and are “buried with Christ.” (Mark 6:3 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? ……..so we too might begin to live a new life.” This new life is that of a child of God.
The Catechism says, “By nature, we are born from Adam, children of wrath; but by baptism we are regenerated in Christ, children of mercy; for, ‘He gave power to men to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name, who are born not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but from God.’ (John 1:12-13)”
This is all very clear to me, but many today who espouse pluralism want you to believe we are ALL children of God. While we are indeed all creatures, it is ONLY through the waters of baptism and the words, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost” that we can become children of God. The path is open to the whole world, by this universal gift, if they so chose to accept it sincerely, but it must be embraced by them and all other paths rejected.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider recently wrote an article relating to this point -- "The Gift of Filial Adoption." It was written following the pope's confusing statement about God "willing" diverse religions which flies in the face (again!) of Catholic truth. I recommend the article which points out that "No authority on earth -- not even the supreme authority of the Church -- has the right to dispense people from other religions from the explicit Faith in Jesus Christ as the Incarnated Son of God and the only Savior of mankind with the assurance that the different religions as such are willed by God Himself."
Fr. John Hardon often said that there are two things necessary to get to heaven. FAITH and HUMILITY. I fear the "supreme authority of the Church", Pope Francis, has neither.
Sadly I have to agree with you. Some great mystery is being revealed in PF's actions. God will turn even the most horrible attacks on the faith into something positive for His people. I believe that with all my heart.
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