Choose a topic from Part 3a:

66. Baptism

1. In the sacrament of baptism, we consider three things:(a) that which is sacrament only, that is, the sacrament assign; the water used in baptizing; the washing; (b) thatwhich is reality only, that is, inward grace;justification; (c) that which is reality andsacrament, that is, the sacramental character impressed bybaptism on the soul of the person baptized.

2. Baptism received the power of conferring grace whenChrist was baptized. This was the institution of baptism as asacrament. But the obligation of receiving this sacrament wasofficially imposed on mankind by our Lord, after his Passion andResurrection.

3. Water is the matter of baptism, that is, it isthe material used in making the sign which is a sacrament. In St.John (3:5) we read: "Unless a man be born again of water andthe Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

4. Any true natural water may be used for baptizing. Ifalien substances be mingled with the water, yet not in suchquantity as to destroy its nature as true water, they do not makeit unavailable for baptizing.

5. In every sacrament, we distinguish matter andform. The matter, as we explained above, is the materialof which the sign is constituted. The form is the authentic anddeterminate formula of words used in confecting the sacrament, thatis, making the sign into a true sacrament. In baptism, the matteris, remotely, water; proximately, the matter is waterapplied in the act of baptizing. And the form, in baptism, isthe set of words to be used in applying the matter, namely, thewords, "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of theSon, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 28:19).

6. We read (Acts 8:12) that the apostles baptized "inthe name of Jesus Christ." This does not mean that theapostles changed the essential formula which names the Father, theSon, and the HolyGhost. It merely means that the apostlesbaptized by the authority of Christ, and that they used the name ofJesus Christ in connection with baptism. By special divinerevelation, the apostles were instructed to employ the holy name ofJesus Christ to win it reverence among people, both Jew andGentile, who had been taught to hate it. These people were to seethat the Holy Ghost was given in baptism at the invocation of theholy name of Jesus.

7. The word baptism means a washing. Now, awashing may be done by immersion in water, by the pouring of water,and even by the sprinkling of water. Therefore, immersion is notrequisite for baptism.

8. "Trine immersion" or its equivalent"threefold pouring" is used in baptism solemnly conferredaccording to the ceremonial of the Church. Yet this is notessential for valid baptism; one pouring suffices.

9. Baptism cannot be repeated. If a man is spirituallyborn by baptism, he cannot be born again spiritually. Baptismimprints on the soul of the person baptized an indelible characterwhich, being once impressed, cannot be impressed again. And baptismalways takes away original sin, Once original sin is takenaway, it does not recur or return to the soul.

10. The essentials for baptism are: the matter(water applied), the form (the prescribed words), and theminister (who brings matter and form together toconstitute the sacrament). For solemn baptism, the Church hassurrounded these essentials with suitable ceremonies andprayers.

11. The sacrament of baptism is baptism conferredwith water. The effects of the sacrament, except for theimprinting of the character, may be produced in a soul in two otherways. A person unbaptized who sheds his blood for Christ is said tohave the baptism of blood. A person unable to receive baptism(because he knows nothing of it, or because his efforts to obtainit are unavailing) may be conformed to Christ by love andcontrition, and thus is said to have baptism of desire. Baptism ofblood and baptism of desire take away sin and give grace. But theydo not imprint the sacramental character on the soul. Hence theyare not truly the sacrament of baptism. Therefore, asurvivor of bloody torture endured for Christ, and one whose desirefor baptism is no longer thwarted, are to be baptized withwater.

12. Baptism of blood is most excellent in its sacramentaleffects, for bloody suffering brings a man who has charity intounion with Christ's Passion from which baptism has itsefficacy. Still, it does not impress the sacramental character.

"It is well to choose some one good devotion, and to stick to it, and never to abandon it."
St Philip Neri

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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Happy is the youth, because he has time before him to do good. "
St Philip Neri

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