Pope questions those who do not baptize children because they “do not understand”

Pope Francis kisses a child during the General Audience

Pope questions those who do not baptize children because they “do not understand”

By Iacopo Scaramuzzi/ lastampa.it

During the general audience, the Pope challenges those who question the opportunity to baptize "a child who does not understand" and points out that with Baptism "the Holy Spirit enters into that child" and makes "the Christian virtues bloom" in them. Baptism is "another birthday, it's the birthday of rebirth," said Francis, who gave the faithful in St. Peter's Square the "homework" to find out the date of their Baptism to honor it duly.

After a cycle of catechesis focused on rediscovering the meaning of the various passages of the Mass, Jorge Mario Bergoglio today dedicated his meditation to the sacrament of Baptism. "The fifty days of the Easter liturgical time are propitious for reflecting on the Christian life which, by its nature, is the life that comes from Christ himself", the Pope explained. "We are Christians, in fact, to the extent that we let Jesus Christ live in us. Where then can we start to revive this consciousness, if not from the beginning, from the Sacrament that has lit up Christian life in us? ``.

Baptism, the Pope said, "allows Christ to live in us and allows us to live together with him, to share in the mission of the Church, each according to their own condition, for the transformation of our world. Received only once, the baptismal waters illuminate our whole life, guiding our steps to the Jerusalem of Heaven. There is a before and an after Baptism. The sacrament presupposes a journey of faith, called catechumenate, which becomes evident when it is an adult asking for Baptism. But children, too, since ancient times, have been baptized in the faith of their parents. I would like to say one thing about this. Some people think, "but why baptize a child who does not understand? Let`s hope that he or she will grow, understand, and that they themselves will ask for Baptism. But this means not having faith in the Holy Spirit because when we baptize a child, the Holy Spirit enters into that child and makes that child grow up with Christian virtues that will later flourish. We should always - Francis insisted - give this opportunity to all children to have within them the Holy Spirit that will guide them throughout their lives. Don't forget: baptize children.

Immersion in water, typical of Baptism, "is a rite common to various beliefs to express the passage from one condition to another, a sign of purification for a new beginning," the Argentine Pontiff noted. "But for us Christians it must not escape us that even if it is the body that is immersed in water, it is the soul that is immersed in Christ to receive forgiveness from sin and shine with divine light. By virtue of the Holy Spirit, Baptism immerses us in the death and resurrection of the Lord, drowning in the baptismal basin the old person, dominated by sin that draws them away from God, and giving birth to the new person, recreated in Jesus".

Francis started from this consideration to address the faithful directly and ask them a question that he had already asked in the past during the general audiences: "I am sure, very sure that we all remember the date of our birth. But I wonder, I have some doubts: does each of you remember what the date of your Baptism was? Some say "yes", well, but it is a rather weak "yes" - he continued commenting on the response of the crowd of faithful - perhaps many do not remember... but if we celebrate the day of our birth, why not celebrate, at least remember, the day of our rebirth? I will give you some homework: those who do not remember the date of their baptism, ask your mother, uncles, grandchildren: do you know what the date of baptism is? And never forget it, and that day thank the Lord because it is the day in which the Holy Spirit entered into you. We all need to know the date of our Baptism, it is another birthday, it is the birthday of rebirth".

No one, the Pope stressed in concluding the catechesis, "deserves" Baptism, "which is always a free gift for everyone, adults and newborns. But like a seed full of life, this gift takes root and bears fruit in a land nourished by faith. The baptismal promises that we renew each year on the Easter Vigil must be revived every day so that Baptism can "Christify" – don`t fear this word, it is to resemble Christ, to transform oneself into Christ - who received it, truly making them another Christ".

Before the audience, the Pope, after the tour among the faithful in Popemobile, greeted three South Tyrolean pilgrims who had arrived on foot to Rome with three lamas raised near the province of Bolzano, named Buffon, Shaquiri and Tiento. The pilgrims Thomas Burger, Thomas Mohr and Walter Mair del Renon, with the three animals beside them, shook the Pope's hand and gave him a white zucchetto and some white socks made of alpaca wool.

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 21:47
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