Spiritual effects and benefits of baptism

| Father Michael Van Sloun | August 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

Father Michael Van Sloun

Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, and it has powerful and long-lasting effects. It changes the spiritual character of a person forever, and the mark of transformation is so permanent that it is indelible; it can never be erased. What follows is a concise list of nine of the most important effects and benefits of the sacrament of baptism.

The gateway sacrament. Baptism is the first of the sacraments. It is the beginning and the foundation of the Christian life of faith, and it provides access to the other sacraments.

Sacramental grace. The grace of baptism is a rebirth in Christ, opens a channel of blessing from God to the believer, grants a share of God’s divine life, delivers spiritual energy and power, provides nourishment and enables growth in virtue and holiness.

The gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to a person through baptism. The Holy Spirit is the ongoing indwelling presence of God, which makes the person a temple of the Holy Spirit and assures the constant companionship of God for the entire duration of the journey of life. The Holy Spirit offers inspiration, enlightenment and guidance, as well as the courage, strength and motivation to live according to God’s ways.

A child of God. Baptism makes a person an adopted son or daughter of God. Baptism consecrates a person to God. God owns the baptized person, and the person belongs to God. With this realization there is an ever-growing deep longing to know, love, obey and serve God.

Church membership. Baptism grants admission into the body of Christ, the Church, the army of light, a spiritual family in which the other members become one’s brothers and sisters in Christ. It establishes a bond of fellowship with the community of believers and full partnership with the communion of saints of the living. The pilgrimage to God is not to be walked alone, but with the help and companionship of other disciples.

Spiritual status. The baptized person is elevated as priest, prophet and king: a person who prays alone and worships with the Church, praying both for one’s self and on behalf of others; lives a good and holy life and calls others to greater holiness; and enjoys royal status before God, and who honors God as supreme, submits to God’s authority and obeys God’s law and will.

Forgiveness. Baptism is a spiritual cleansing. All sins, both original sin and personal sin, are washed away and forgiven, and purified. The person is in the state of grace. Liberation from sin gives the freedom and fosters the desire to conform one’s life to Jesus and his gospel.

Apostolic zeal. Baptism makes a person a laborer in Christ’s vineyard and a minister of the Church, one who proclaims the gospel to others in deed and word; gives strong and bold witness; assists in liturgical roles; teaches and shares the faith; serves one’s neighbors, particularly the poor and disadvantaged; is a good steward of time, talent and treasure; seeks, speaks and defends the truth; works for justice and peace; and upholds the common good.

Salvation. Baptism clothes a person with immortality, gives a person a share in the redemption that Christ won on the Cross, and makes salvation, eternal life and everlasting glory with God in heaven possible. It unites a person to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
St. Paul explained that those who are baptized in Christ are baptized into his death (Rom 6:3), and that, “If we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection” (Rom 6:5).

Father Van Sloun is pastor of St. Bartholomew in Wayzata. This is the fourth column in a series on baptism. Read more of his writing at CatholicHotdish.com.

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Category: Faith Fundamentals