Baptism Makes Us Children of God, Says Pope

Underlines Sacrament as Foundation of Fraternity

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2010 ( With the sacrament of baptism, the faithful become children of God, and brothers and sisters with each other, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope reflected on the sacrament of baptism today before praying the Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square. In the morning, the Pontiff had baptized 14 newborn babies in the Sistine Chapel, a tradition on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord.

«With this sacrament,» the Pontiff explained, «man really becomes son — son of God. From that point the goal of his life consists in arriving at, in a free and conscious way, that which from the very beginning was his destination as man.»

Benedict XVI said the «basic educational principle of the human person redeemed by grace» is «become what you are.»

He explained: «Such a principle has many analogies with human growth, where the relationship between parents and children passes, through separation and crisis, from total dependence to the awareness of being children, to recognition through the gift of life received and to the maturity and capacity to give one’s life.

«Born to new life through baptism, the Christian too begins his journey of growth in the faith, which will carry him to consciously invoke God as ‘Abba — Father,’ turning to him with gratitude and living in the joy of being his son.»

The Pope noted that baptism also provides for society the basis of brotherhood: «Fraternity cannot be established through an ideology, much less through the decree of just any power that has been set up. We recognize ourselves as brothers and sisters through a humble but profound awareness of being sons of the one heavenly Father.

«As Christians, thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit received in baptism, we have the gift and task of living as sons of God, and brothers and sisters, to be like ‘leaven’ in a new humanity, united and rich in peace and hope.

«We are helped in this by the consciousness of having, besides a Father in heaven, a mother too, the Church, of whom the Virgin Mary is the perennial model.»

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