Tag Archives: Baptism

The newly baptized, the new lambs: Isti sunt Agni novelli

B16 baptizes Easter 2010.jpgThese are the
lambs, newly-baptized,

who proclaimed the
glad tidings:  Alleluia! recently come to
the waters, and full of God’s
light and splendor. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Lady, Queen, whom
grace from heaven, Has preferred to
all on earth, Now renewed, the
world is brightened, By your holy

Oh, how lovely and
how wondrous, Is the cure that
saved us all: Jesus, in His love,
becomes now, Victim for His people’s

Now renewed through
holy washing, In the font of our
rebirth, Soon the chrism’s
oil and fragrance, Will give strength
to us on earth!

To each Christian
now is given, Christ’s own Flesh
as Bread of Life. Christ’s own Blood
becomes the sweetest, Source of joy in all our strife!

Easter week brings so many joys, graces and consolations. One such joy, grace and consolation that I’ve been thinking and praying about all week during Mass and praying the Divine Office, is the is new life in Christ that those received into the Church at the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday. The gift of salvation given to us is has once again been given to other called not by human concern but by the Holy Spirit. The Neophytes –the newly-initiated Christians who were baptized and confirmed and communicated– live differently now that the doors of our God-given destiny has been received. Musically we can think of the chant text given above, “Isti sunt Agni novelli,” taken from the Cistercian collection Laudes Vespertine (Westmalle, Belgium, 1939) which gives a keen insight into this beautiful mystery of faith. May Christ shower His blessing on all of us!

God’s Friday

Crucifixion of ChristFor our sake he was crucified!  Jesus, at his death, embraced the tragic experience of death as it had been fashioned by our sins; yet, in his death, Jesus filled death itself with Love, he filled it with the presence of God.  By Christ’s death, death itself was vanquished, for he filled death with the one power capable of cancelling the sin that had spawned it: Jesus filled death with Love!


Through faith and Baptism, we have access to the death of Christ, to the mystery of the Love by which Christ himself tasted and conquered death … and this in turn becomes the first step of our journey back to God, a journey which will end at the moment of our own death, a death experienced in Christ and with Christ: in Love!

~Archbishop Angelo Comastri


A substantial part of the Pope’s Sunday Angelus address is worth thinking about: the reality of Baptism. Why? Because I think many of us have yet to grasp some of the essential points of what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. What I notice, as you may have, that even the clergy have a faulty understanding of what the sacrament of Baptism is meant to do for the person. It is not a social event for the family. It is not an opportunity to quiet the screams of family members (grandma) regarding “the way it is done in this family”, etc. Baptism is about a life in Christ. Period.

BUT what is the sacrament of Baptism all about? At the time of baptizing children or baptizing adults we are given a supreme gift by God: love. Let me briefly explain what baptism is and what it gives to us. These points don’t exhaust the teaching and the conversation of what happens when one is baptized:

A. there’s a forgiveness of sins –the baptized person “dies to sin” (Romans 6); for the adult person there is repentance and deliberate renunciation of personal sin, AKA, conversion;

B. there’s a configuration to Christ, that is, a person comes to a close union with Jesus: baptism unties the Christian with Christ–it is a union of mind and will; the person is made new; the the baptized person is a sharer in Christ’s own paschal mystery (life, death, resurrection and ascension, Romans 6:1-11); the soul is changed permanently, which we call sacramental character;


C. the baptized person is given the gift of the Holy Spirit–he or she is “re-generated” in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13); the gift of the Holy Spirit is personally present and dwelling in each person; the Holy Spirit gives eache person the grace of becoming sons and daughters of God the Father, also the Spirit gives each person the power to say, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6): St Paul is clear, by the Holy Spirit we can utter the holy name, Jesus Christ and call Him “Lord”;

D. as baptized persons we have a new relationship with God the Father as adopted children of God; this new relationship speaks of our destiny–God wants us to be saved–He offers each person salvation through Jesus Christ AND His Church;

E. baptism gives each person membership in the Church, not like a membership at a gym or a country club or Sam’s Club; we are brought into, incorporated in the Church as a communion of faith and a communion of saints; in the Church we receive grace AND we work out our salvation through the worshipping community and together as a community in mission to realize the Gospel.
And now the Pope’s address:

The Baptism of the Lord [the feast celebrated this past Sunday, Jan 10] suggests quite well the general sense of the Christmas festivity in which the theme of “becoming sons of God” thanks to the only-begotten Son’s taking on of our humanity constitutes a dominant element. He became man so that we could become sons of God. God is born so that we could be re-born.

These concepts continually return in the liturgical texts of Christmas and constitute a powerful motive for reflection and hope. We think of what St. Paul writes to the Galatians: “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption” (Galatians 4:4-5); or again, of St. John in the prologue to his Gospel: “To those who received him he gave the power to become sons of God” (John 1:12). This stupendous mystery that is our “second birth” — the re-birth of a human being from “above,” from God (cf. John 3:1-8) — is realized and summarized in the sacramental sign of baptism.

With this sacrament man really becomes son — son of God. From that point the goal of his life consists in arriving at, in a free and conscious way, that which from the very beginning was his destination as man. “Become what you are” — represents the basic educational principle of the human person redeemed by grace. Such a principle has many analogies with human growth, where the relationship between parents and children passes, through separation and crisis, from total dependence to the awareness of being children, to recognition through the gift of life received and to the maturity and capacity to give one’s life. Born to new life through baptism, the Christian too begins his journey of growth in the faith, which will carry him to consciously invoke God as “Abba — Father,” turning to him with gratitude and living in the joy of being his son.

A model of society is also derived from baptism: that of being brothers. Fraternity cannot be established through an ideology, much less through the decree of just any power that has been set up. We recognize ourselves as brothers through a humble but profound awareness of being sons of the one heavenly Father. As Christians, thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit received in baptism, we have the gift and task of living as sons of God and brothers, to be like “leaven” in a new humanity, united and rich in peace and hope. We are helped in this by the consciousness of having, besides a Father in heaven, a mother too, the Church, of whom the Virgin Mary is the perennial model. To her we entrust the newly baptized children and their families, and we ask for all the joy to be re-born every dayfrom above,” from the love of God, that makes us his children and brothers among ourselves.

Baptism of the Lord

Almighty, eternal God, when the Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism in the Jordan, You revealed Him as Your own beloved Son. Keep us, Your children born of water and the Spirit, faithful to our calling.
Thumbnail image for Baptism of the Lord.jpgChrist’s Baptism – from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by Saint John the Baptist in the Jordan. After His resurrection Christ gives this mission to His apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Our Lord voluntarily submitted Himself to the baptism of Saint John, intended for sinners, in order to “fulfill all righteousness”. Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of His self-emptying. The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as His “beloved Son.”

In His Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of His Passion, which He was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a “Baptism” with which He had to be baptized. The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life. From then on, it is possible “to be born of water and the Spirit” in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from His death. There is the whole mystery: He died for you. In Him you are redeemed, in Him you are saved. (1223-1225)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory