Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baptism Question

I have a new question. In my reading I have learned that at times in the Church, many held off to be Baptised until old age, in a hope to wash clean the sins of their life after they had committed them. They were thus sometimes lifelong catechumens. Catechism lasted a long time, at any rate, longer than the year we will have.

But I have also read a great deal about Baptism itself and wonder if the kids and I would not be better off to be Baptised without delay. For example:

"Thus our salvation begins when we receive the forgiveness for our sins in Holy Baptism, and indeed many times again later in Confession, the sacrament of repentance or washing with tears." (from The Faith We Hold)

"Baptism confers being and in short, existence according to Christ…" (St. Nicholas Cabasilas, from this article)

"Thus, escape from the corruption caused by passion is possible only in communion with God. This communion is established in Holy Baptism. There man is born anew of water and the Spirit, and God begins to work in him." (also from  The Faith We Hold)

"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16)

There is a particular quote I cannot find because I can't remember which book it was in. (This is very frustrating but I have been searching for a hour and I am not spending any more time looking today.) The quote discussed how Baptism is a comfort to our hearts and can both illuminate and protect us, that having the Holy Spirit with us is most necessary for spiritual growth in young and old.

I know I am growing in Orthodoxy, I know I am learning. I am amazed every day (and there are very hard times, too). My question is: is it reasonable to wait so long for this illumination?


  1. You have to consider why one is baptised to begin with. I touched on this in my post on "Crosses". Yes, in baptism we are cleansed of sins, but we are also (more importantly) grafted onto the Church of Christ. We are strengthened by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Think of this as armor to use in the spiritual battles of life. We NEED the tools the church gives us to navigate the troubles and temptations of life so that we can eventually enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Besides, how do we know when the end of life is approaching? We don't. Better to be baptised now than put it off.

    After baptism, we are cleansed from sin by confession. It is said that the tears shed when confessing sins are like the waters of baptism.

  2. Beautiful question! I think though that this one can really only be answered by your priest and spiritual father, as to when is best for you. Everyone's journey is different in this regard. One of the beautiful things in Orthodoxy is being advised by one's spiritual father (or mother in some cases) according to your self and your situation. It is a beautiful, freeing thing to have direction and guidance in this way! :)

    Candle lit for you all!

  3. Matushka: Yes, I have read your post Crosses and loved it.

    elizabeth: This journal, while public, is for Father Stephan. He doesn't spend a lot of time online, though, as you can imagine (if any) so I will have to ask him in person.

  4. I always figured if it was intended to be for adults at the end of life why would we baptize infants?

  5. Nice... and it is nice to share questions with others too... I know I like to do this! :) wishing you a peace-filled day!

  6. Yes, I really enjoy sharing with new people here, including you!

  7. I think those who waited till the end of life were the exception, not the rule. It seems to me that those people would be at a disadvantage because so much is imparted to us at baptism. I've been reading St. Theophan the Recluse's "The Path of Salvation" and he gives a lengthy discussion baptism... so its been on my mind lately. Be baptized now and do not delay, especially not for your children.


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