Monday, September 12, 2016

The Significance of Baptism for a Christian

Baptism, one of the Holy Sacraments of the Church, is a significant event in every Christian’s life. It is not only a service which allows us to enter into a group, into a new family. Baptism allows us to enter the Body of the Church, the Body of Christ, and be in communion with Him and with the other faithful. It allows us to leave our individual understanding of life and our existence, entering into a communion of faith, where we are members of a greater relationship, of truth and love.

‘The triple descent into the water of baptism and triple emergence from it is not a type or an instructive allegory, but the tangible experience of a real event. At baptism, human existence ceases to be a result of biological necessity. In contrast with the natural birth, which forms a biological unit subject to the facts of nature, baptism raises existence to freedom from natural necessity, to the personal distinctiveness which subsists only as an ecclesiological hypostasis of communion and loving relationship. Man ceases to be an individual species, a closed circuit of purely biological succession, a mere social unit. He joins the communion of saints, which is a manifestation of God in Trinity. He himself receives the name of a saint, and from this first moment of baptism he is potentially realizing in his own person the revelation and “glory” of God. “Build him up upon the foundation of Thine apostles and prophets,” the celebrant prays, “that he may not be overthrown; but implant him firmly as a plant of truth in Thy holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” This direct, hypostatic entry into the body of the Church is “knowledge” and enlightenment.’[1]

[1] Yannaras, Christos, The Freedom of Morality, (1996), p.141.

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