“Baptism is…an effective sign of rebirth, to walk in newness of life,” Pope Francis said on April 11, 2018. “In virtue of the Holy Spirit, Baptism immerses us in the Death and Resurrection of the Lord, drowning in the baptismal font the old man, dominated by sin, which separates from God and making the new man be born, recreated in Jesus.”
His remarks came during the catechesis at the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, as he spoke to the thousands gathered in person and those watching and listening through the media. Having concluded in the past weeks his teaching series on the Mass, the Holy Father now turned to Baptism.
The Pope asked whether those in the crowd remembered the day of their Baptism, suggesting most did not. So he suggested they asked their older relatives to tell them the date and what they remember.
“I ask you: does each one of you remember the date of his Baptism? Some say yes — ok. However, it’s a somewhat weak yes, because perhaps many don’t remember it,” Francis suggested. “However, if we celebrate the day of our birth, how can we not celebrate — at least remember — the day of our rebirth?
“I will give you a task to do at home, a task to do today at home. Those of you who don’t remember the date of your Baptism, ask your mother, aunts, and uncles, nephews, ask them: ‘Do you know the date of my Baptism?’ and don’t ever forget it.”
Because Baptism changes the person and enables the Christian to live as part of the Church, the Holy Father encouraged parents to remember to have their children baptized: soon after being born. Don’t wait until the child grows up and makes his own decision, he warned, because that shows a lack of “trust in the Holy Spirit”.
“Baptism enables Christ to live in us and us to live united to Him, to collaborate in the Church, each one according to his condition, in the transformation of the world,” proclaimed the Pope. “Received only once, the baptismal cleansing illumines our whole life, guiding our steps to the Heavenly Jerusalem.
“Baptism ‘Chritifies’ one who has received Baptism and he is ‘Christified,’ resembles Christ, is transformed into Christ and renders him truly another Christ.