Why Baptize Infants?
Most Christian denominations baptize infants, and historians believe that infant baptism dates back to the 1st and 3rd centuries. But certain groups of Christians opt for the believer's baptism, contending that there is no scriptural basis for infant baptism, and that an infant is incapable of belief, a condition for baptism.
In his weekly general audience on April 11, 2018, Pope Francis asked, “Why baptize a child who does not understand?” He then answers, "When we baptize a child, the Holy Spirit enters that child, and the Holy Spirit makes... the Christian virtues grow in that child, who will then flourish.”
He emphasized, “Nobody deserves Baptism; [it] is always a free gift for everyone, adults and newborns. But as happens for a seed full of life, this gift takes root and bears fruit in earth fed by faith.”
One day the Lord's disciples rebuked parents for bringing the little ones to him. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant, saying to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." He then embraced and blessed them (Mark 10:14,16)
If Jesus embraced babies of believing parents and said "the kingdom of God belongs to such as these," how can the Church refuse to introduce them to the family of faith?
It's not we who believe in God and love him before he loves us. Rather "we love because [God] first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Infant baptism is a sign of such gratuitous and generous love of God.
But do we appreciate God's lavish, gratuitous love for us at baptism? Do we cherish and celebrate of the anniversary of our baptism?
At the said general audience, Pope Francis said, "...if we celebrate the day of birth, how can we not celebrate – at least remember – the day of rebirth?” He then asked parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles what their baptismal date is. And never forget it,” he said to Christians. “And that day thank the Lord because it is precisely the day when Jesus entered into [you], the Holy Spirit has entered into [you].”
(More details to follow...)