Q:

What does the oil of chrism symbolize in Baptism?

A:

Quick Answer

The oil of chrism in Baptism symbolizes the sealing of the Holy Spirit in the child or person being baptized. A priest anoints the crown of the head with chrism oil. This is a blessed oil made from olive oil and balsam, a fragrant resin.

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Full Answer

In the Catholic rite of Baptism, there are different substances used with distinct symbolism, in addition to oil of chrism. These include water, oil of the catechumen, the baptismal candle and white garments. Water is a sign of cleansing the person from sin and also represents life. While wrapping the child in white clothing represents a new life in Christ, the baptismal candle lit from the paschal or Easter candle symbolizes the light of the risen Christ. The priest anoints the chest with the oil of the catechumen, which is olive oil. It represents strength and the power to resist evil.

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