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LAITY IN THE CHURCH - page 2 / 21

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priesthood.  Writing to the laity of his day, the first pope used imagery that can be applied equally well to today's laity:  "You too are living stones, built as an edifice of spirit, into a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pt 2:5).  Peter's words reflect the words of the book of Exodus centuries earlier:  "You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation" (Ex 19:6).  

In turn, our Maronite rite of Baptism echoes both biblical passages.  At the beginning of the rite of Baptism, the priest addresses God:

Now call your servant (Name____) to holy baptism.

Make him/her worthy to enjoy your great gift,

as you renew in him/her your Holy Spirit ...

Right after receiving the mystery, or sacrament, of Baptism, as the concluding prayer is pronounced, we hear the following words:

O Lord,

enlighten the heart of your servant (N....)

who has just received baptism.

As you enabled him/her to become

a son/daughter of your grace,

in your merciful kindness keep him/her firmly

in the rank of your children.

Grant, O Lord, that after being purified

with the waters of your covenant,

he/she may be a member of

a royal priesthood,

a holy nation,

a redeemed people

a blessed community.

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