Saturday, October 23, 2010

Eva and the Sacrament of Baptism

We attended Eva’s sacrament of Baptism on the 10 October, 2010 held at the Chapel of……at Vaires sur Marne. Eva is 3 years old. She is a very talkative sweet little darling of three years.

She was dressed in a beautiful white dress. She was very proud and happy being the little star of the day.

Her brother much older to her is Hugo. Hugo seemed very proud of his little sister.
Giselle and Pierre took us to the small chapel where the Religious Ceremony was to take place was taking place there were three other little children baptised on the same day.

The Ceremony was conducted in Portuguese. I wondered whether the children understood what it all meant to be baptised. One little girl refusing herself to be baptised took refuge in her mothers arms. She would not allow herself to be taken to the water of sacrament, therefore the water had to be taken to her .

Eva was very brave.She allowed herself solemnly to be consecrated in the water of baptism.

Baptism -baptême in French, is the Christian sacrament, a water related ritual by which the believer is admitted to his or her faith. It may have been a ritual initiate by Jesus himself. In the New Testament it is said that, “ As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.”

John the Baptist immersed himself in a river, but he poured water on Jesus. Later the ritual was reduced to pouring water on the upper part of the body while the believer was standing in water. Now it is only a token of sprinkling water on the head which is called aspersion or pouring a little water on the head –called the affusion, where the water is poured thrice on the forehead. In what ever way baptism is performed, it signifies the admission of a believer to the Christian fold purified from the impurity of disbelief.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" John 3:5 RSV.

The baptism is also the means to save a Christian soul. A martyr who sacrifices his life refusing to renounce his religious belief is saved by identifying him as having baptised by blood. Those who have failed to receive ritual baptism in time, before death are accepted for salvation as having received a baptism of desire. All this indicates the necessity of baptism as a Christian.

However, the baptism as a necessary Christian purification was denied in the 16th Century by a Swiss reformist Pastor Huldrych Zwingly. Quackers and the Salvation Army both of Christian faith do not perform the rite of Baptism.

The words of Baptism is usually, “ in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, while other do it in the name of the Jesus only.

The Jewish “mikvah” is an initiation ritual similar to Baptism. Mikvah is also used to cleanse a person from impurity of being in contact with a corpse, before he is allowed to participate in religious performances.

The equivalent of such initiation into the religion is the Islamic practice of circumcision. Jesus was circumcised eight days after his birth. Though Mikvah could be repeatedly practised, both Baptism and circumcision are unique. The circumcision has been ruled unnecessary though not prohibited for the Christians through Apostolic Decree in 50 AD.

our little Eva was baptised of holy water before our eyes and is thus “ born of water and spirit” to become a true Christian.

After the ceremony we were to celebrate the event and Eva’s parents invited about a 100 friends and relatives to a cocktail and a sumptuous dinner at a very homely Portuguese Restaurant. The dinner was animated by Susana Lopes a Portuguese singer who sang tunefully melodious songs, and songs of love and patriotism.

After the dinner there was a much hip shaking dances brilliantly participated by Eva herself shaking her little hip to the maximum.

All that I watched from a distance sipping a tastefully bitter Lavazza cafee. We offered our best wishes and long life to sweet little Eva still not tired after the tiresome accession to her Christian faith, she was overjoyed receiving lots of gifts.

It also happened to be the Birth Day of her God Father Antonio, and naturally there were two big cakes one for the Birthday and the other for the Baptism.

Prohibited as I was from eating sugar I could not resist from sharing the Cakes, which I found were delicious. It was finally time for us to give our parting kisses and shaking lot of hands and say good night ….

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