if you confess with your mouth… and believe in your heart… 10Mar2019

There are some Christian faith groups who do not believe in Baptizing children under the age of 14, partially due to the words of Paul in today’s excerpt from his letter to the Romans. Afterall, how can an infant or child possibly understand what it means to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead? Obviously, an infant can’t do either; that is why the parents and godparents speak for it and promise to raise it in the Faith. In the Catholic Church,  once a person reaches the age of seven he/she can speak the words of Faith and, hopefully, understand them.

All of this talk about the proper age for Baptism is futile, however, because it misses the main point. What we confess on our lips or believe in our hearts is very important but it is secondary to what Christ does. We open the door, He provides the Grace.

If we contemplate this seriously—careful, it might hurt—we would have to wonder if any person, of any age, and of any intelligence can fully appreciate the depths of St. Paul’s words. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians of the Church, never finished his Summa Theologica because he received a vision of God’s glory and afterword declared his writings to be worthless  He realized the emptiness of words in describing the Glory we can see only after transcending this world.

What Christ does in Baptism is to make that after-death vision possible. He frees us from original sin, reunites us with the Father and fills our souls with Grace, the life of God, so that, throughout our lives, we can daily confess with our mouth and believe in our heart. That, in turn, invites more of God’s Grace to help us live the words of our Baptism.

Deacon Richard

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