Water of Redemption
by Rev. Edward Lodge Curran, Ph. D.
An Ancient Greek poet once wrote that the wounds of the earth are cleansed by the waters that flow around the earth. Christ, Who is God, made flowing water the solvent for the wound with which everyone born into the world is afflicted: the wound of Original Sin.
Original Sin is the sin that our first parents committed. In the sad results of that sin every one of their descendants, except Mary, the Immaculate Conception, has participated. Because of that sin the intellects of men have been weakened.
More disastrous than all other results is the fact that, through Original Sin, man was shut out from the kingdom of Heaven prepared for him in eternity.
Still upon the human race falls the cloud of a darkened intellect and the blight of a weakened will. But no longer is the spiritual roadway to Heaven blocked by the obstacle of inherited original sin. For Christ Who is God came to die for the sins of men. And Christ Who is God did die as a victim for sin upon the cross. And Christ Who is God called all men to become Christians, and therefore sharers in His Redemption, through the Sacrament of Baptism.
The waters that flow round the earth get their strength from the creative power of God. The waters that flow upon the heads of newly-made Christians in Baptism get their strength from the redemptive power of Christ Who is God.
To become a Christian, or a follower of Christ, we must believe and do what Christ commanded. Belief in Christ is not enough. Obedience to the commandments of Christ is absolutely necessary.
To the Apostles, in whom and on whom Christ founded the Catholic Church, Our Lord said: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Matt. 28:19-20)
Referring to the Sacrament of Baptism, the administration of which Our Lord imposed upon His Church, Christ also said: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
Those who wish to follow Christ, therefore, must be baptized. Those who would be Christians must put on Christ in the Sacrament of Baptism and strive to keep clothed in Christ by avoiding sin and by being a righteous member of the Church which Christ has established. That is why Saint Paul, the dynamic missionary, wrote: You are all the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. (Gal. 3:26-27)
That is why Catholics bring their newly born to the Church shortly after birth. There around the Baptismal Font stand the godfather and godmother, who become spiritually related to their godchild and who must watch out for this religious education in case of the parents’ death or neglect.
There, the child is solemnly given the name of a Saint, whose protection and example will henceforth surround the newly baptized Christian throughout his life.
And there the priest, the representative of Christ, pours water upon the head of the infant and recites, while pouring the water, the effective words of Baptism which every one should memorize: “I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
In case of necessity, every nurse and doctor and relative and friends who are present at a birth should be prepared to pour water upon the head of the infant while reciting these words. This should be done only when the child is in danger of death and only when the priest, who is the ordinary minister of Baptism, cannot arrive in time.
Should the child recover health, after the administration of this private Baptism at home, the child should be brought to the parish Church. There those beautiful ceremonies and prayers, which the Catholic Church has woven around the Sacrament, can be supplied.
Without the Sacrament of Baptism no one can enter the Kingdom of God. Christ told us so.
Without the Sacrament of Baptism no one is a member of Christ’s Church. Christ made it so.
To be cleansed of Original Sin, to become a Child of God, an heir of Heaven, and a member of the Church which Christ Himself left upon earth to continue His heavenly mission, all men and women and children should receive the Sacrament of Baptism.
In the waters of Baptism our souls are cleansed and cooled and nourished and made beautiful wit the saving grace of God, just as the waters of the earth have nourished and cleansed and cooled and beautified the life of nature and the body of man from the beginning of time.
Be baptized and preserve forever your baptismal promise to renounce the devil and all his works and pomps.