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69. Effects of Baptism

1. Baptism takes away all sin, original and actual. St. Paulsays (Rom. 6:3): "All we who are baptized in Christ Jesus arebaptized in his death"; and (Rom. 6:11), "So do you alsoreckon that you aredead to sin, but alive unto God in ChristJesus Our Lord." By baptism, therefore, a man dies to sin, andbegins to live in the newness of grace. Thus, every sin is takenaway by baptism.

2. Baptism not only takes away all sin, but cancelscompletely the debt of punishment due to sin. By baptism a personis incorporated in Christ suffering and dying. And scripture says(Bom. 6:8): "If we be dead with Christ, we believe that weshall live also together with Christ." Now, the Passion issatisfaction for all possible sins of all possible men. Hence, hewho is baptized, and so incorporated into this perfect and plenarypower of satisfaction, is freed from all debt of punishment due tohis sins.

3. Baptism does not take away the penalties of sin thatare to be undergone in this life. We must suffer, and endure, anddie; this is for our merit, if we bear all hardship forGod; this keeps us humble, hopeful, looking on to finalresurrection, when all hardships and defects will be at an end.

4. Baptism takes away all sin and all punishment due tosin, and it confers grace and virtues on the person baptized. Forbaptism makes one a member of Christ; from Christ, the Head, graceand virtues flow through the members.

5. In baptism, a person is: (a) incorporated in Christ;(b) enlightened by Christ with knowledge of truth; (c) madefruitful of good works by Christ's infused grace.

6. Infants, by being incorporated with Christ throughbaptism, receive grace and virtues, even though their immaturityprevents the conscious exercise of acts that flow from grace andvirtues.

7. Baptism, by removing guilt and the debt of punishment,takes away the obstacles that would block a man from heaven. Hence,we say that baptism "opens the gate of the heavenlykingdom" to the person baptized.

8. The essential effect of baptism (that is, the birth ofa human being into spiritual life), is the same in everyone who isbaptized. In adults, there is a varying degree of"newness" of life, according to the devotion anddisposition they bring to the receiving of the sacrament ofbaptism.

9. The effect of baptism may be blocked, even though thesacrament is validly received, by what St. Augustine callsinsincerity. A man may be insincere, with respect tobaptism, in four ways: (a) when he does not believe; has not thefaith; (b) when he has scorn for the sacrament; (c) when hereceives baptism according to an unapproved rite; (d) when he hasno devotion.

10. A man who is insincere, in any of these four ways,is validly baptized, and the sacramental character is impressed orimprinted on his soul. But he blocks out the grace and the virtueswhich the sacrament bestows. When such a man repents, and sincerelyreceives the sacrament of penance, his baptism will then produceits normal effects in him.

"If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel."
Thomas á Kempis

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"God speaks to us without ceasing by his good inspirations."
The Cure D'Ars

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"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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