reconciling things

“Allow it all to happen: beauty and terror…” Rilke

Even as I was starting to appreciate ancient Catholic doctrines, there remained this thing about Baptism.  I believed strongly Anabaptist theology (Believer’s Baptism), that one must be old enough and aware enough to know what they are doing.  They must be believers themselves, desire the experience, and request the experience.  In addition, Baptism was something that we did as a sign of what had already happened inside.  There was nothing about the water that saved us.  It was simply an act of obedience, symbolic only.

I’ve heard other arguments for infant baptism and for Baptism being a sacrament.  But, never got on board.

Then I read this from St. Hildegard and in an instant, my theology shifted:

“The Jewish people received circumcision in one bodily member, but I want all men and women to be circumcised in all their members. A new circumcision, that of baptism sprang from the Baptism of My Son.  It will remain until the last day, abiding for eternity and knowing no end.  Those circumcised in the washing of baptism will be truly saved if they also do good deeds. For I will receive anyone, young or old, who has kept my covenant, believing in Me and confessing the Trinity, either personally or through a godparent if they should be infants or otherwise unable to speak for themselves.

“Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:16). This means that a person who sees by an inner eye what is hidden from outer sight is one who has faith. For what is seen outwardly is known outwardly.  What is seen inwardly is understood inwardly….

“I have not excluded any race from my salvation, but through my Son I have mercifully made my calling available to everyone. For whatever age or sex persons may be when coming to baptism, I will receive them with my merciful help. Infants I receive as well, just as in the Old Testament I accepted infant circumcision, even though the child did not ask by itself; rather faith was supplied by the parents. It is the same in infant baptism.”

Circumcision in the Old Testament was merely a foreshadowing of Baptism in the New, available to all–even little children.  The faith of the parents brings the whole family into that covenant of grace.  **mind blown**

I have come to see that there are two main signs of the covenant in the Old Testament: Circumcision and Passover.  Both are foreshadowing–the prophetic precursor of Christ’s fulfillment and ultimate sacrifice.  We receive this in two corresponding sacraments, namely, Baptism and the Eucharist.


Thank you, St. Hildegard.

Pray for us St. Hildegard, that we too would be led by the Light as you were.  Amen.


One thought on “How St. Hildegard Set Me Straight On Baptism

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