Baptism Calls for a Relationship, Says Pope

Affirms Children Need to Be Taught Filial Love for God

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 11, 2009 ( Benedict XVI says the feast of Christ’s baptism points to the «everydayness» of a personal relationship with the Lord.

The Pope made this reflection today when he celebrated Mass and baptized 13 newborns in the Sistine Chapel.

Noting the close of the Christmas season, the Holy Father said that the «feast of the baptism of Jesus introduces us, we could say, to the everydayness of a personal relationship with him. In fact, through the immersion in the waters of the Jordan, Jesus united himself to us.»

He said that baptism is like the «bridge that [God] has built between him and us, the road by which he is accessible to us […] the gateway to hope and, at the same time, the sign that indicates the road we must take in an active and joyous way to meet him and feel loved by him.»

From the time of Christ’s baptism and the opening of the heavens on that day, «we can entrust every new life that blossoms to the hands of God, who is stronger than the dark powers of evil,» the Pontiff continued.

He said that in doing this, «we restore to God that which has come from him.»

A child, he affirmed, «is not the parents’ property, but is rather entrusted by the Creator to their responsibility, freely and in an ever new way, so that they help him to be a free child of God.»

It is this awareness that can help parents strike the right balance between treating their children as if they were a possession or allowing them total freedom, satisfying their every whim.

«If,» the Bishop of Rome emphasized, «with this sacrament, the newly baptized infant becomes an adoptive child of God, object of his infinite love that safeguards and defends him, then he must be taught to recognize God as his Father and to know how to relate to him with a filial attitude.»

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