What is Baptism?
Baptism is one of the Seven Sacraments instituted by God which cleanses us from Original sin, makes us Christians, children
of the Most High God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven.
"Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)" According to Apostolic teaching, Baptism was likely instituted about the time
Our Lord was baptized by St. John in the Jordan river.
We also know that the reception of this sacrament was commanded by Christ,
"All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth.
Going, therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19)".
Why is Baptism important?
Baptism is vital for human souls as it is the only way one may be able to hope for heaven.
It is what many have called it, one of the sacraments of initiation as it is the first among all the sacraments that must be given before any other sacraments can be given.
Besides Christ's command for all to be baptized and believe,
we also know that it is baptism that saves us,
"Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh,
but an appeal to God for a good conscience--
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21)".
Baptism also wipes clean what is known as 'actual sins'. Actual sins are
sins that are committed upon free will however most baptisms are administered on infants and so actual sins are therefore impossible for them to commit.
Another reason why the Catholic Church baptizes infants is that if they should die they would enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
As stated before, without baptism, one may not enter into heaven.
This is another reason why abortion is so terribly evil as it
not only deprives human lives that God wills into existance but also kills the children that could have been baptized.
However, it is commonly believed among the centuries throughout the Church that unbaptized babies (through no fault of their own) go to some place
similar to Limbo, where they will be free from suffering,
though deprived of the happiness of heaven.
How is Baptism Administered
And Who Can Do It?
Baptism is normally administered by what is called an 'ordinary minister' which we know to be a Catholic Priest. However, in
cases of necessity, anyone who has the use of reason may baptize.
Ordinary clean water must be used as well as using the Trinitarian
formula in order that it may be validly administered, which is to say,
"I baptize thee, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost".
According to the Church, even a non-believer (athiest, pagan, heretic, etc.)
May administer baptism as long as a few
conditions are met:
1) He has the use of reason;
2) Knows how to give baptism (using Trinitarian formula with clean water);
3) Intends to do what the Church intends in the giving of the Sacrament.
While saying aloud the formula given to us by Christ,
water is (preferably)
poured over the head with every intention of fulfilling the sacrament.
However, this sacrament avails greater blessings for the one to be
baptized if the baptism is administered by a Catholic Priest.
As the Catholic priest was ordained to stand as the person of Christ for the
sake of shepherding souls, the priest is given spiritual faculties laymen are not given.
Are there any other kinds of Baptism?
There are actually three different kinds of baptism and they are the baptism of water,
of desire, and of blood. The baptism of
water is the obvious form of which we speak that a human soul is baptized with clean water using the words of baptism given to us by Christ.
The baptism of desire is the conscicous deep desire to receive Baptism and to do all that Christ asked us to do for salvation.
This baptism is of subjective nature and must NOT replace ordinary water baptism if it can be obtained because it is for those cases which are deemed
hopeless to receive the sacrament.
The baptism of blood or martyrdom is understood to be the shedding
of one's blood for the Apostolic faith of Christ.
However, as stated before,
one must not refrain from water baptism as it is most vital for salvation.
Jesus bless you all