Page 12 - Water of Life Infant Baptism
P. 12

  Rich in symbolism
Anointing with oil is an ancient practice rich in symbolism.
Oil is a sign of joy, abundance and dignity (anointing in the coronation of a king or queen); it cleanses and beautifies (anointing after bathing); it soothes and limbers (massaging of an athlete’s muscles); it heals and strengthens (tending of wounds and bruises).
The Scriptures tell us that when David, still a young boy, was chosen to be a great king, the Lord said, “Anoint him, for this is the one” (1 Samuel 16:12).
The Rite of Baptism speaks of Christ anointed ‘Priest, Prophet, King.’ Through baptism your child shares in Christ’s mission; he/she
is called to praise God through holiness of life, to be God’s messenger, to share in the work of bringing about the kingdom of God.
Two oils are used in the baptism ceremony:
Oil of Baptism
Before the pouring of water, your child is anointed on the chest with the oil of baptism.
This oil is a sign of being healed, strengthened, made ready for new life in Christ. The celebrant prays with these words:
We anoint you with the oil of salvation in the name of Christ our Saviour;
may he strengthen you
with his power,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. All: Amen.
Oil of Chrism
Immediately after being baptised with water, your child is anointed on the crown of the head with the perfumed oil of chrism.
This oil is a sign of dignity in Christ. In baptism your child has been ‘anointed’ by the Holy Spirit, becoming one with Christ (‘Christ’ means ‘anointed one’). The celebrant prays:
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.
All: Amen.
When your child is older, and ready to receive the sacrament of Confirmation,
he/she will again be anointed with the oil of chrism. Chrism is also used in the ordination of priests.
Oil has many uses in the home: cooking, cleaning, massaging, moisturising... As you encounter it, recall the ancient symbolism of anointing with oil.
Prayer tip: As you moisturise your child after a bath, or apply ointment to a rash, pray a simple prayer such as: “Come Holy Spirit, heal and strengthen
our child.”

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