Husband & Wife Articles


More than Water

Nurturing the graces of Baptism

By Matthew Petesch

When my newborn son was baptized, he became a new creation in Christ. He was cleansed of original sin and transformed into an adopted son of God. Because of this, God now dwells in the depths of his soul. There he will find communion with the Holy Trinity who has made a home in him. This reality is brought about through the graces won for us through Christ's suffering and death, and these graces are preserved through exercising the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, which are infused in the soul at Baptism.

As a father, I have the privilege and the obligation of helping my son nourish and unearth these wonderful virtues that God has bestowed upon him. At his Baptism, my parish priest addressed my wife and me with these words from the rite:

"On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring him up in the practice of the faith. See that the divine life which God gives him is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in his heart."

My wife and I have been entrusted to protect, guard, and nourish the divine life that dwells in our son. As daunting as this responsibility is, we are equipped for this mission because we too have been baptized and share in divine life. Without this grace we would be completely helpless. Because we have received sanctifying grace in Baptism, we can exercise the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity in our daily lives.

Through this tremendous gift, we can now help nourish the theological virtues in our son. Only three months old, he is still working on gaining control of his motor functions, but my wife and I can begin to bear witness to the life of God that dwells within us by praying together at home and frequenting the sacraments. As our son grows, we will continue to practice these prayerful habits, and begin to invite our son into a deeper relationship with God. By inviting him to participate in a life of prayer and devotion to God, we will present him with opportunities to encounter Jesus.

Through this encounter he will begin to discover and uncover the graces of Baptism that he received as an infant. As these graces begin to manifest themselves, he will come into contact with the living God who has made a home in his heart. In the depths of his heart, he will meet Christ, the Good Teacher, who will instruct him in the virtues of faith, hope and love.

As a father, I have the wonderful opportunity to share the life in Christ with my son. By bearing witness to my faith and practicing the theological virtues to the best of my ability, I seek to set a good example even at this early stage in his life. This responsibility is both a tremendous gift and incredible challenge that calls me to deeper intimacy with Christ. I’ve been invited by the Lord to commit my life more fully to him so that my son might move into deeper communion with Christ. We are on a journey that leads to joy.

Matthew Petesch lives with his wife, Mary, and their 3-month-old son in Helena, Montana.