Acclaim the Baptisms!

A few texts for last night and for today.

First Tertullian describes third century practice:

Baptism is performed with very great simplicity, without pomp, without any large amount of novel preparation, finally, without expense. A person is dipped in water and is sprinkled while some few words are spoken, and then rises again; though not much cleaner, the consequent attainment of eternity is esteemed the more incredible.

Baptisms do need song. My parish uses a simple alleluia to acclaim Christ in the sacrament. What more do you need to sing someone into eternal life? If you do need a few more words, here is a favorite, from the fifth century Middle East:

Stretch out your wings, O holy church,
and greet the simple lambs
whom the Holy Spirit has begotten from the waters.

Clement of Alexandria provides a longer text than Paul quoted in Ephesians 5:14:

Awake O sleeper, and arise from the dead
and Christ shall give you light.

Light of the resurrection,
Begotten before the morning star
who gives life through his radiance.

May all the baptized shine in the radiance of the grace of Christ this day, and every day.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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5 Responses to Acclaim the Baptisms!

  1. crystal says:

    Happy Easter, Todd :)

  2. Katherine says:

    Do you know of music for either the Middle Eastern 5th c text or Clement’s text? We’re always looking for suitable music for that point in the ritual.

  3. Mollie says:

    At my parish the choir sings “You have put on Christ, / In him you have been baptized / Alleluia, alleluia” after each baptism. Really lovely. Can’t tell you where the music came from though…

  4. Todd says:

    ICEL commissioned a number of composers in the late 1970’s through the early 90’s to set baptismal acclamations (among other things) to music.

    The most widely used setting of “You Have Put on Christ” is by Howard Hughes–from that initiative.

    Katherine, I don’t know of any settings of just these texts. Obviously, many hymns and songs utilize the quote from Ephesians 5:14. E-mail me if you’d like me to poke a bit more deeply into my files or come up with something myself.

    • Katherine says:

      Thanks, Todd — let me get past final exams, and a debriefing meeting with the other folks involved in our Triduum …

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