“If we beheld a soul after baptism with the eyes of faith, we would see angels taking their watch around it.”  (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

Christian Baptism is the gateway to eternal life, and to all the other Sacraments.  It is the first of three Sacraments of Christian Initiation, Confirmation and Eucharist being the other two.

Scripture records that Jesus commanded His Apostles to baptize all nations “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19).  This simple formula was passed on to the successors of the Apostles and continues to be used today.

Through Baptism – whether by full immersion, pouring, or sprinkling, and regardless of one’s age – we are reborn by water and the Holy Spirit, becoming a new creation in Christ.  The stain of original sin inherited from Adam and Eve is removed, and for adults all personal sins committed up to that time are washed away.  We receive new life in the Holy Spirit and are united with Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose from the dead to reconcile us with the Father.  Through Baptism, we are adopted as children of God, able to share now in His divine nature as fellow heirs with Christ, and we are made brothers and sisters of one another in Him as we are incorporated into His Body the Church.

Baptism fills the soul with sanctifying grace, which is God’s own life within us.  The theological virtues of faith, hope, and love are infused into the soul and we are given the capacity to live as children of God.  Sins committed after Baptism may obscure and dim its fruits, but the effects of Baptism can never be erased from the soul.

As St. Peter preached in Jerusalem on Pentecost two thousand years ago, so the Catholic Church invites you now: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38)!