I was going through some of my older blogs at the Mystical Geek and I found out that I have quite enough materials for a mystagogy of the baptismal rite.
“Mystagogy” is such a big word, but it does reduce to just one idea what we usually talk of us a “running commentary on a liturgical rite.” We usually have this in an ordination where the commentator reads the explanation for the main parts of the celebration. I do it as normal practice whenever it is my turn (usually every two Sundays) at baptism.
At baptism I make it a point to highlight the following parts of the rite
- the interrogation of godparents (now, it is a question about their readiness to take on their role)
- the anointing (after the pouring of water, I inform everyone that the anointing makes the newly baptized a sharer in the three-fold office of Christ but that it will be activated (ala Windows XP) during confirmation.
- the changing or the newly baptized’s robe (I don’t know about other places, but in the Philippines, the “robe” is already worn during the rite and after anointing, it is completed by the wearing of the bonnet). At this point I tell those present that the wearing of the white robe recalls the words of St. Paul in Rom. 13:13 “Not in drunkenness nor wantonness … but put on the Lord Jesus Christ”. From there, I make the connection to the white robes of those who have washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb and the wedding garment that is required in the parable of the banquet.
- the lighting of the candle is something that everyone usually recognize as something similar to the lighting of the candles during the Easter Vigil. And so I add the explanation that the other name for baptism is “illumination” and is based on the idea that Christ is the Word which sheds its light on all that are born. I add that the newly baptized should be formed in such a way that he/she may be able to light the candle of the faith of others later on.
Below are some of the blogs at Mystical Geek that may be read in relation to the sacrament of baptism. I wrote them as reflections on the bible readings of the daily and Sunday masses but can be used in relation to the sacrament of baptism. Who knows perhaps a catechist may be able to use them for the Pre-Jordan seminar. Parents and godparents — or those intending to — may find some benefit from the articles too.
- Those Emerging From the Waters are the Hope of the World
- A brief reflection on a selection from the story of Noah. Noah and family emerge from the ark to find a world to be populated anew. It is a picture of those who have emerged from the waters, like the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea, who bring new hope to the world.
- “…And They Walked Behind Him”
- A reflection on the call of the fishermen. The Gospel reading for baptism is from the commissioning of the apostles from Matthew: “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. The blessing/commissioning of Adam and Eve was “Fill the earth and subdue it”; with the recreation of humanity in the blood of the Lamb, the keywords are “make disciples” and “baptize”. The Christian is called to walk behind the Lord. This is the duty of parents specifically to see to it that their children truly learn to walk behind the Lord.
- Christ Will Give You Light
- This is a reflection on Ephesians 5:8-14. I intended it to be an explanation of the Paschal candle.
- The Wedding Garment
- Some thoughts on the robe of baptism.
- Keep Your Lamp Lighted
- After kindling the candles from the Paschal candle, the priest says “Keep this light burning … until the coming of the Lord”. This reflection on the symbolism of lighted candles is related to the lighted lamps of the wise virgins.
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