3 Different names for the sacrament of Baptism

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The sacrament of Baptism can be called at least three different names that each reveal a specific spiritual dimension.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has an entire chapter devoted to the sacrament of Baptism and in it are featured three different names for this gateway to Christian life.


This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”CCC 1214


This sacrament is also called the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.”CCC 1215


This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . .” Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptized has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself.CCC 1216

The Catechism also lists a few other names as quoted by St. Gregory Of Nazianzus, but which are not as popular in Christian literature: “We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift.”

Each name reveals a different spiritual dimension of the sacrament of Baptism.

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