Water and the Spirit

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Church, Family Life, Liturgy, Parenting, Spirituality, Teachings

“Truly, truly, I say to you. Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” John 3:5.

Water and the spirit bring forth baptism. I have now had the blessing of holding two infants during their baptisms. One was my daughter months ago, the other my godson this past weekend. There’s something extremely surreal about holding a sleeping newborn while they’re anointed with oil and covered with water. Baptism is a life-giving and life-saving sacrament. It is one of the single most important things that could possibly happen in a person’s life. Most religions delay baptism until children, or adults, freely request they be baptized. However, in the Catholic Church, it is required in the Code of Cannon Law to baptize children within one month of their birth.

Why Baptize Infants?

If Baptism is so life-changing, why do it when children can have no role in it? The answer is in the question: baptism is life changing. Thankfully, the Catholic Church has the authority to decipher the meaning of baptism in the Bible. We understand why it must be done as soon as possible.

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” Mark 16:16.

There are many passages in the New Testament dictating the call to baptism. Mark records Jesus’ words here, with two things required to be saved: baptism and belief.

Baptism is not a magical process where water is poured on a child and Original Sin is removed from their soul. It is a sacrament, an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. To receive a sacrament, one must have the intention of reception of God into our souls, or faith.

Obviously, an infant cannot have true faith. An infant cannot will the dispel of sin or the reception of God. The faith in question comes from the parents and godparents. During a formal baptism, the parents and godparents renew our baptismal vows, made by our parents before us. We reject Satan and believe in God. This consent must be given by the essential parties before the infants can be baptized.

With the faith of the parents and godparents, the child can receive the sacrament of baptism. Parents are responsible stewards entrusted by God with the souls of our children. We have the authority to reject Satan and accept God on behalf of our children. With that authority is the responsibility to baptize our children as soon as possible.


The terrible reality is our children are not promised life. If there is even possibility an infant will die in the hospital, we are able and compelled to baptize them. The burden of baptism is on the parents of the child, the stewards of God’s gift. To fail to baptize our children is to risk their loss of full joy in Heaven. Even in His infinite mercy, God does not force us to love Him. Our joy in Heaven grows by our relationship with Him. To die with the mark of Original Sin is to die without knowing God. There are few tragedies as terrible as allowing our children to leave this world without knowing God.

“And if children, then heirs. Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him” Romans 8:17.

We are children of God and heirs of Heaven. Catholics baptize our infants because we are not meant for this world. We are made for Heaven. So, we ensure as quickly as possible our children can obtain Heaven.

Protestants will argue that infant baptism takes away a child’s choice of religion. But just like a person can change their citizenship, a person can change their religion. They can abandon their religion. One could reject everything they were brought up to understand, and many do. Parents are not responsible for what our children choose with their free will. We are responsible for ensuring they have everything they need to reach Heaven, as far as we are able. In our Church’s understanding, that means baptizing our infants.

We are made for Heaven, but we choose Hell. For a child that can choose neither, we must claim them for Heaven first.

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Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

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