The Baptism of Christ

Yesterday was the official feast day of the baptism! So, in honor of that day, here is a picture of Christ’s baptism!

The Baptism of Christ, by Emilio Savonanzi, c. 1630-35. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France.

There are a lot of paintings out there that show a darker Baptism scene, with the light descending down from the Holy Spirit and Christ, and this is one of them! Christ kneels humbly to St. John the Baptist (a posture which must have alarmed St. John the Baptist greatly!) while St. John the Baptist baptizes Him with water. Above, a great light from the sky — so great that the rest of the scene looks dark! — comes down in the form of a dove.

In the meantime, two angels stand ready with towels in their hands, ready to dry Christ off as soon as He’s ready. Then, one onlooker who is partially disrobed — presumedly someone who was just recently baptized — looks at astonishment at Christ while others who are fully clothed watch and wonder from afar.

It’s a dramatic, moody picture, and I love it! It gives us a new look at how important Baptism really is in the sight of God. I know that, when I had my own children baptized, I was kind of out of it and I felt like I was juggling babies and trying to calm them down, mostly. What can I say? Maybe having a baby’s baptism shortly after they are born is not quite the best time to concentrate for the parents!

And yet! To God, who can see and knows all, Baptism must be like this. We bring our children to Him, and He, in return, adopts them and becomes their Father and proclaims, “This is my beloved child.” Even though we may not see the miracle taking place, it surely happens!

And that should make us overjoyed! After all, to be a child of God? That means that God is truly our Father. And that is worth celebrating!

Questions to Ponder:
  • This is a very moody picture! What sort of mood do you pick up from this dramatic scene?
  • There are a lot of different expressions on everybody’s face! If you were to place yourself as a character in the scene, which person would it be, and why?
  • Think about your own life. How has the Holy Spirit lightened your own way for you to follow?

 

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for giving us the sacrament of Baptism so that we may become children of God! Help us always to follow in the light of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

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