Bobby Eberle – Blog Post 3

by Mar 3, 2024Students

Congratulations to those who are celebrating Easter as new members of the Catholic Church.  You are undoubtedly feeling that extra connection with your faith, and it is my hope that you will hold onto that feeling and that it will not only help sustain you in your day-to-day lives to nourish you for faith development going forward.  This is not the end but merely the beginning.

To understand what I shall call your new “starting point” in your faith, let’s first review what you have been through already.  You have received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.  You can think of these in three different words, each of which puts you on a new foundation upon which you can take your next steps in understanding the great mysteries of the Trinity:  preparation, recognition, and participation.

Let’s start with baptism.  Baptism, as Danielou describes, is a preparation which can be symbolized by an entrance into paradise by the participants standing in the vestibule.  He quotes St. Cyril in reference to baptismal candidates: “Henceforth you are in the vestibule of the palace.  May you soon be led into it by the King.”1  Baptism represents that vestibule.  You see the sites, smell the aromas, feel the presence, but you are not in the palace yet.

In the primitive Church, this symbolism was brought out by the decoration of the baptistry.  As Danielou notes, “Here we usually find Christ represented as the Good Shepherd surrounded by His sheep in a paradisal setting of trees, flowers, and fountains.”2

There is so much symbolism represented in baptism, and it is important that you remember that all of it is designed to nourish your soul and provide you that platform for future learning.  Danielou notes that “in the early church, the catechumen was stripped of his old clothing… the clothing representing his previous life… Stripping him of all his last attachments to things here below.3

The water has great symbolism as well which is directly analogous to your present lives.  Danielou writes that “the decent into the baptismal pool is a decent into the waters of death.  The emergence represents Christ’s conquering of death and the initiates emergence into a life of Christ.”4  Each day there are temptations by evil spirits which tempt us to renounce Christ and essentially choose death.  Having faith in God’s saving grace is what allows you to emerge from that pool of evil and breathe in the air of the Holy Spirit.

Other symbolism to keep in mind from the baptism you just received were noted quite thoroughly in Danielou:

  • The baptized appear in contrast to Adam.  Baptism is a new creating of man to the image of God, following the destruction of the old Adam.5
  • The waters of baptism serve as a symbol of the tomb and also the womb6
  • The white garments signify at once purity of should and incorruptibility of body.7

As much as baptism provides you with God’s grace, you still lacked the understanding of what that saving grace really means.  This is what confirmation is all about:  moving from preparation to recognition.

Danielou describes this best by noting that confirmation “serves as the reception of the Holy Spirt in ways of wisdom and understanding, piety, counsel, fortitude, knowledge.”8  You, as recipients of confirmation, have a “new wisdom,” one gained through conscious acknowledgement of Christ.  Danielou quotes St. Cyril by noting this of baptism and confirmation:  “grace will come down upon you when you have been baptized, and later I will tell you how.”9

“Later, you will learn how you have been purified of your sins by the Lord by means of the bath of water together with the word, and how you have been made in a priestly manner participants of the name of Christ, and how the seal of the communion of the Spirt has been give to you” (XXXIII, 1056 B) St. Cyril

In further explanation, Danielou references the Old Testament and recalls the anointing of priests and kings to draw symbolism to the anointing carried out in confirmation.  The anointing “constitutes a sacrament by which the Holy Spirit was communicated to them in view of the functions which they were to carry out.”10  Danielou also notes that there is also the reception of the Holy Spirit through the imposition of hands, both referenced in the Old Testament under Moses and in the New Testament by Peter.  Danielou summarizes confirmation eloquently by stating that “there takes place a new outpouring of the Spirit having for its object to bring to perfection the spiritual energies called forth in the soul by Baptism.”11

So, you have received and you have recognized.  Now through the Holy Eucharist, you are called to participate.  You do not only participate in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but you also participate in the result.  We are now living, breathing representatives of that sacrifice with a call to lead others toward their own participation in the Body of Christ.  We are called to remember Christ and also feel is power to conquer death.  As Danielou notes, “The Eucharistic liturgy is a participation in the heavenly liturgy and the dispositions of holy fear which should be possessed by those who participate in this liturgy.”12

Recall the symbolism of the sacrament you just received.  “As the altar is the figure of Christ perpetually offering Himself to the Father in the heavenly sanctuary, so the deacons represent the angels who surround this heavenly liturgy.”13

What lies ahead for you is to exercise this participation to its fullest extent, for it is not only a call but also a blessing.  You are now a participant in the Body of Christ with a charge to bring others to God while also increasing your reception of God’s grace through prayer and actions.  You are all members of a new family now:  a family grounded in God’s love, guided by Christ’s word, and bound together through the Holy Spirit.


  1. Jean Danielou, the Bible and the Liturgy, ↩︎
  2. Ibid, p 36. ↩︎
  3. Ibid, p 38. ↩︎
  4. Ibid, p 41. ↩︎
  5. Ibid, p 43. ↩︎
  6. Ibid, p 47. ↩︎
  7. Ibid, p 49. ↩︎
  8. Ibid, p 119. ↩︎
  9. Ibid, p 117. ↩︎
  10. Ibid, p 115. ↩︎
  11. Ibid, p 119. ↩︎
  12. Ibid, p 135. ↩︎
  13. Ibid, p 131. ↩︎