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312

Part Two

A

rticle

1

THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

1213

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the

gateway to life in the Spirit (

vitae spiritualis ianua

),

4

and the door

which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we

are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members

of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her

mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water

and in the word.”

5

I.

W

hat

I

s

T

his

S

acrament

C

alled

?

1214

This sacrament is called

Baptism,

after the central rite by

which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek

baptizein

) means to

“plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes

the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, fromwhich he rises up

by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”

6

1215

This sacrament is also called

“the washing of regeneration

and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

” for it signifies and actually brings

about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can

enter the kingdom of God.”

7

1216

“This bath is called

enlightenment,

because those who receive

this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding .

. . .”

8

Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that

enlightens every man,” the person baptized has been “enlightened,”

he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself:

9

Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift. . . . We

call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of im-

mortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is

called

gift

because it is conferred on those who bring nothing

of their own;

grace

since it is given even to the guilty;

Baptism

because sin is buried in the water;

anointing

for it is priestly

and royal as are those who are anointed;

enlightenment

be-

cause it radiates light;

clothing

since it veils our shame;

bath

because it washes; and

seal

as it is our guard and the sign of

God’s Lordship.

10

4 Cf. Council of Florence: DS 1314:

vitae spiritualis ianua.

5

Roman Catechism

II, 2, 5; cf. Council of Florence: DS 1314; CIC, cann. 204 § 1;

849; CCEO, can. 675 § 1.

6

2 Cor

5:17;

Gal

6:15; cf.

Rom

6:3-4;

Col

2:12.

7

Titus

3:5;

Jn

3:5.

8 8 St. Justin,

Apol.

1, 61, 12: PG 6, 421.

9

Jn

1:9;

1 Thess

5:5;

Heb

10:32;

Eph

5:8.

10 St. Gregory of Nazianzus,

Oratio

40, 3-4: PG 36, 361C.

628

1257

1243