This weekend, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It’s an appropriate time for us to reflect not only on the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist 2,000 years ago, but also on the graces and blessings of our own baptism.
When Louis IX, who ruled France in the 13th century, was asked why he signed everything “Louis of Poissy,” and not “Louis IX, King of France” (which would have been the traditional way for him to sign letters and documents as king), he answered by saying that Poissy was where he was baptized. Then he added, “I think more of the place where I was baptized than of Reims Cathedral where I was crowned. It is a greater thing to be a child of God than to be the ruler of a Kingdom. This last I shall lose at death but the other will be my passport to an everlasting glory.”
Louis IX (who’s now known to the world as Saint Louis) was deeply aware of the fact that the day of his baptism was the most important day of his entire life! That’s because he understood the power of the sacrament. He knew that baptism takes away original sin, all personal sins (if one is baptized as an adult) and all punishment due to sin. He knew that the sacrament fills the soul of the recipient with sanctifying grace, and makes him or her a member of the Church and — most importantly — an heir to the kingdom of Heaven.
Do you know the date of your baptism? You should! Every Christian should. And you should make the effort to celebrate that day appropriately each and every year.
It’s that important.