Baptism: we give them the Grace of faith

Educate in faith: Baptism

The series is dedicated to “educating in the faith” on the topic of the sacraments as a means to educate our children. This week: Baptism.

After marriage, the next sacrament that we experience and that makes up the family is usually that of baptism. Baptism is the first and fundamental action of transmission of the Faith. How important is the baptism of our children? However, since the child is usually not aware of what is happening at that moment, it is easy for its significance to go unnoticed. Hence, the importance of making a good video to be able to recover it and watch it with our son years later will serve as a means of family catechism.

The baptism of each of our children must serve to relieve our own, to put us face-to-face with our faith again. How can we not question why and why we are going to baptize our child?

Baptizing a child implies acquiring a commitment E-LE-VA-DI-YES-MO. It is a commitment that we make with two people: with God and with our child.

The first thing that happens in church is that the priest asks the parents: “What do you come to ask of the Church?” To which parents must respond – if they want it that way – “Baptism.”

That simple question, which may seem like a simple gesture or a mere formula, is of enormous importance. We are here because we want it, no one forces us, the Church does not ask it of us, we are the ones who ask it of Her.

There are people who believe that a child should not be baptized while he lacks the capacity for reasoning and choice, and that he should be the one to choose when the appropriate time comes. Allow me some comparison.

Surely you know someone who is so fond of football that he is not satisfied with being a member of his team, as soon as his son is born he makes him a member too. The boy (or girl) is barely a few days old, but he already has his membership card. Can you imagine telling that father (or mother) who is so fond of football that he should let the child grow up so that he can decide whether he likes football and, if so, that he choose a team?

I know I’m talking about very serious things, and I don’t want to offend anyone. I know that for many to think that their child can become a fan of Real Madrid, Fútbol Club Barcelona or Atlético de Madrid, is to bring them dangerously close to a myocardial infarction, I say this just to illustrate.

Another comparison: I am sure that many think that the correct thing should be for children to choose the school they attend, that it is not the parents who should “force” their children to attend a school for the fact of being bilingual, or for any other reason, but the truth is that most parents think that the choice of school is SO important that we consider we should assume it without the “necessary” consensus with the child.

Well, if the soccer team or the school are important enough for parents to have the power to choose without waiting to know their child’s opinion, I believe that anyone who has a deep love for God will have every desire to do so world for introducing him to his son and for asking him to be his adoptive Father. That is what is asked for in the church when requesting baptism.

The next question that the priest asks us is: “When you ask for Baptism for your child, do you know that you are obligated to educate him in the faith, so that this child, keeping the commandments of God, loves the Lord and his neighbor, as Christ did?” teaches in the Gospel?”

I can’t think of many more complex obligations. Since the Church is so wise, notice how well it asks: “Do you know that you are obliged to educate him in the faith?”

“You know?” Then don’t tell me that you didn’t know what he was doing. If you don’t know, have asked that there is now a meeting with the priest before the baptism.

“You force yourself.” Not the Church, not the priest, not even God. You are the ones who force yourself. “You force yourself”, not “you propose”, nor “you will try”, but “you force yourself”. There it is nothing.

“To educate him.” Educate him, not “teach” him, but “educate” him. Teaching is theoretical. Educating is lived. Forcing oneself to educate is forcing oneself to live to be an example. If you don’t live and if you don’t set an example, you aren’t being educated.

“Faith”. Not in “some faith”, nor “in your faith”, not even in “the faith of the Church”, but in “Faith”: the only one. “One creed, one Lord, one faith.” (Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 4, 5).

What is faith? That is the next step in the liturgy of baptism: answering the questions that make up the Creed. That is faith.

“Yes, but I do not share (I believe) everything that the Creed says.” Well then… what do you say you are forcing yourself to do when educating your son? Because the priest’s question does not leave much room for misunderstanding. (Actually, of the entire Creed, most people disagree with only one of the more than 40 statements it contains, but that one seems to be enough to create a seemingly unbridgeable gap. One, of more than 40… that deserves a post on its own).

For anyone who has love for God, the Creed, phrase by phrase, serves to spend hours of prayer. It would be great to spend a little time each day doing it before our son’s baptism.

It is also a magnificent way to teach our child what it means to have been baptized and why we wanted to share that treasure with him.

The baptism of our children, each baptism of our children (or of our godchildren, nephews, etc.) should be a magnificent moment to review how I am living my faith and if I am consistent with what I am doing.

Continuing with the previous comparisons, would it make sense to make our son a member of the soccer club, if later we are not going to take him, nor are we going to go to a single game, or if in reality soccer neither suits us nor comes to us?

I do NOT mean that those parents who do not practice their faith should not baptize their children. Nothing could be further from my intention. Exactly the opposite.

When parents baptize their child, or when couples get married in the Church – even if they haven’t set foot in a temple for years, or when they want their child to make their first Communion (even if they don’t take them to church again for years) , you are making a wonderful leap of faith. They have decided to live a sacrament. Sacraments are the direct action of God in a person’s life. Wanting to be baptized, married in the Church or take communion implies wanting God to act in your life (or that of your child). That is having faith. What I propose is to take advantage of that moment to get closer to God, a little, but with perseverance. Try to feed that faith that we have already shown that we have.

If we fulfill the commitment to which we “were obliged” in baptism, the transmission of faith is guaranteed, which does not mean that the “welcome of faith” is also guaranteed.

That is the preciousness of the life of faith. Freedom. It is not possible to impose faith. Simply put, through baptism we give them the Grace of faith, through our education we will make them know it, and it will be up to them to get the most out of it or not.​