Baptism, the Way to Freedom

(Henri J M Nouwen, Bread for the Journey)

When parents have their children baptized they indicate their desire to have their children grow up and live as children of God and brothers or sisters of Jesus, and be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Through birth a child is given to parents; through baptism a child is given to God. At baptism the parents acknowledge that their parenthood is a participation in God’s parenthood, that all fatherhood and motherhood comes from God. Thus, baptism frees the parents from a sense of owning their children. Children belong to God and are given to the parents to love and care for in God’s name. It is the parents’ vocation to welcome their children as honoured guests in their home and bring them to the physical, emotional, and spiritual freedom that enable them to leave the home and become parents themselves. Baptism reminds parents of this vocation and sets children on the path of freedom.

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