16 October 2012

Christianity and Baptism, the Conclusion

A Concluding Thought
The basic confession of Christian faith bears repeating here: all who are saved are saved in Christ.  They do not know how, nor can they know this Christian faith assures us that the world has been created by God alone – Father, Son and Spirit – and will be saved by that same Trinity, through the death of Christ.  This hope is baptismal hope, because it began in the waters of chaos before time and gained currency as the Israelites passed through the Red Sea dry shod.  John’s baptism of water brought the Israelites to repentance; Jesus’ participation in the waters of baptism further sanctified them for Christians (cf. Gregory of Nazianzus, OOR, Baptism of the Lord).  Before Jesus’ ascension, he commended his disciples to take their baptismal faith throughout the world.  Baptism too serves as a gateway: into the Eucharist, the source and summit of Christian life and the prologue to the heavenly banquet of fulfillment.  It is this entrance from faith, into the Lord’s Supper, that Christians hold as their temporal and eschatological objective (Sacrosanctum concilium, §10).  Since antiquity, baptism has been the primal mark of Christianity – it has been the goal of missionaries and the very reason for the celebration of the great rites of Christian worship.  Even in these times, baptism is universally recognized amongst the tragically separated Christian peoples as making all who have received their baptism part of the Body of Christ.  Members in this Body have “promised great things; [but] greater things have been promised to them” by their faith (Admonition of St. Francis of Assisi).
This is baptismal faith.  This is Christian belief.  This is our faith.

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