Sr. Louise Zdunich

YOUR QUESTIONS

June 15, 2015

QuestionOur baby was born during Advent. When we asked to have her baptized shortly after, we were told that we couldn't. When we asked why not, we were told it was because the rule is that no Baptisms are allowed during Lent or Advent. However, we were not given a reason.

Can you explain why no Baptisms are allowed during these specific periods?

 


AnswerInfant Baptism is very special. It orients the infant to Christ early in life. Most of us are familiar with the traditional urgency that we administered the sacrament of Baptism to newborns.

In the bitterly cold weather of our Prairies, families would drive 10 miles or more with a newborn in a horse-drawn sleigh. They believed that Baptism with "water and the Holy Spirit" was necessary for salvation to cleanse these souls from original sin. So it was urgent to have the child baptized as soon as possible.

The author of the Letter to the Romans asks if we are to continue in sin so that grace shows. He asks how we who died to sin can go on living in sin. He continues that we were buried with Christ so that just as Christ was raised, we will be too.

If we have died in Christ, we shall also live with him. "His death was death to sin once and for all. . . . You must consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6).

WONDERFUL GIFT

Infant Baptism is a wonderful gift that God, through the Church, gives to parents and families. Many of us have witnessed water being poured over the head of a baby at the baptismal font. "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

The family crowds around this new child of God. When families continue to nurture the faith of this child of God, the spiritual reality signified by the candle, the incense and the clothes becomes apparent. Baptism is just a start, the beginning of a new life, a spiritual life which dedicates one to God.

Christians usually baptize with holy water, a symbol which responds universally and dramatically to the needs and culture of Christians. Holy water comforts Christians from birth and throughout their lives.

We bless ourselves with holy water as we enter the church; we bless our children with holy water at their bedtime. We continue to bless ourselves with holy water until we reach our destination of eternity.

The joyous season of Easter and its prolonged celebration, as well as the Easter Vigil Baptisms, make it an important time to celebrate Baptism of infants. Returning to the baptismal font, our true home, is a journey of death and resurrection and the bringing forth of new life.

The liturgy invites us to reclaim, renew, reaffirm and re-appropriate our Baptism so we can become who we are, the people God made us to be in Jesus Christ.

Baptism may be delayed during Advent and/or Lent because we used to see them as seasons of penance. Advent is no longer a season of penance although some may still believe it is.

Infants are welcomed by the common bath of baptismal water to be part of a great family. The challenge is to allow that reality in our personal and church consciousness to develop and mature enough to receive the Body of Christ.

BAPTISMAL SPIRITUALITY

Recovery of baptismal spirituality calls Christians to re-evaluate Confirmation, the third of the initiatory rites which should not be separated from the other two. Confirmation adds special reference to the work of the Spirit.

The Lord's Supper is God's meal and admission is by God's invitation, God's initiative. We are Christians because of God. Our status before God depends not on our feelings nor our accomplishments. God washed us and grafted us on to Christ.

LIFETIME OF BELONGING

Baptism is important, the most important Christian sacrament, which opens the door to the other sacraments and to a lifetime of belonging to Christ and to the Church.

Lived faithfully and supported by parents, it makes us a part of a family, a parish, a community of faith. Our lives are influenced by sharing our celebrations with like-minded Christians who worship with us, helping to bring us to God and eternal life.

(Other questions? Email: zdunich@telus.net)