The great John Paul II was once asked what was the greatest day of his life--having survived two foreign occupations, been elected to the Chair of St. Peter in Rome, having had such a profound political and spiritual influence the world over. To this question, he simply responded:
The day of my Baptism.
Pope John Paul had such gratitude in his heart for all the many gifts he had received from the Lord--but none of those things would have been possible, he said, without the first grace of his Baptism.
Baptism is the first and most indispensable Sacrament of the seven. Christ Jesus, immediately before He ascended into heaven, reminded His disciples of their most basic duty:
"Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28:19)
Baptism being the parting wish and command of Our Savior, effects the complete remission of original and actual sin, imparts sanctifying grace, and incorporates the baptized into the saving Body of Christ, the Church.
Much more than just a special day or even a rite of passage, Catholics prefer infant baptism so as to afford every grace and possibility of salvation to each child. Instead of children growing up unaided and unprotected by the grace available in Baptism, Catholic parents elect infant baptism for the immediate spiritual good of their children, just as they choose to sustain their children physically with food, long before a child understands biology. As such Catholics do not confuse Baptism with a moment of personal dedication to God. Instead, it is the Church's hope that those moments of deeper conversion to the Lord happen not only once at a baptism, but in a daily way--and that the greatest day of every child's life is not long postponed!