Baptism of the Lord
Pope Francis once said in his homily, “Just like Jesus who went to be baptized, you too are bringing your children to be baptized to His church.” To baptize a child is an act of justice towards them. Why? Because at Baptism we offer a treasure, i.e. we offer a pledge: the Holy Spirit.
Baptism endows the child with the strength of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that will defend and assist each of them throughout their life. This is why it is so important to baptize them when they are little, so that they may grow with the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis continued, this is the message that I would like to give you today. You have brought your children to be baptized so that they may receive the Holy Spirit within them. And make sure that they develop in the light, with the strength of the Holy Spirit through faith formation, catholic school education and your example at home. I do not want to say anything more important than this. Only some advice.
At the beginning of a baptismal ceremony, you were asked a question: “What do you ask for your children?” And you all said: “Faith”. You ask the Church for faith for your children, and today they will receive the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith, each within their heart, within their soul. But this faith has to develop, it has to grow. Yes, someone may tell me: “Yes, yes, they have to study it…”. Yes, when they will attend faith formation classes, they will study the faith well; they will learn catechesis in catholic school as well. However, before that, faith should be transmitted, and this is a task that is up to you, parents. It is a task that you receive today: to transmit the faith, the transmission of the faith. And this is done at home. Because faith is always transmitted “in dialect”: the dialect of the family, in the spirit of the home.
Parents, this is your task: to transmit the faith by example, with words, teaching how to make the sign of the Cross. This is important. You see, there are children who do not know how to make the sign of the Cross. First of all, teach them on how to do it right.
But what is important is to transmit the faith with your life of faith: that they may see the love between spouses, that they may see peace at home, that they may see that Jesus is there. And please allow me to say this word of advice — forgive me, but I offer you this advice: never quarrel in front of your children, never. It is normal for husbands and wives to quarrel; it is normal. The opposite would be strange. Do it, but so that they do not hear, that they do not see. You cannot imagine the distress that a child feels when he or she sees their parents quarrel. Allow me to offer this advice which will help you transmit the faith. Is it bad to quarrel? Not always, but it is normal, it is normal. But so the children do not see, do not hear, because it is distressing.
I would like to tell you another thing, Children are not accustomed to come to the Sistine chapel or in any church especially on their baptismal day. It might be their first time! They are not used to being closed in an environment that is also a bit hot and stuffy. And they are not used to being fully dressed. They will feel a bit uncomfortable at times. And one will start to cry, — the concert has yet to begin! — but one will start then another… Do not be alarmed: let your children cry and scream. Rather, if your child cries and complains, perhaps it is because it feels too hot: remove something; or because they are hungry: then feed them here. Make them comfortable.