“Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.”
The argument is that if faith must precede baptism and faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ, an infant that cannot understand the Word of Christ cannot be baptized. Such an argument reveals ignorance of what faith is and what hearing the Word of Christ is. Such things are taught by example in the Bible if one reads with the eyes of faith; this faith being the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Faith.
Faith is not an intellectual exercise. If it were, everyone exposed to the Word of Christ would have faith. Even Satan understands the Word of Christ intellectually. It is only by grace that one can have faith. Many have heard the Word of Christ, but do not have faith, so merely hearing the Word of Christ does not give faith. One must be given the grace of faith when the Word of Christ is heard.
What is the first biblical example of the grace of faith being granted by the Word of Christ? It is the Visitation, recorded in Luke 1:39–46.
When the voice of Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces, came to the ears of her cousin Elizabeth, the infant in her womb, John the Baptist, was given the grace of faith and leaped for joy. It is the Mother of God, the Theotokos, that speaks the Word of Christ and gives the grace of faith. And the first person that She gives the grace of faith to is an infant.
Now almost all who reject the validity of infant baptism also reject that their faith was granted to them by Mary. Some may even say that nothing came to them through Mary, but I’m sure many would concede that the way Jesus came to us was through His Mother. However, most would say nothing else came to them through Mary. Most would even say that everything of faith that they have came to them through the Bible. This is true, but what they don’t realize is that the Bible came to them through Mary.
The Franciscans are fond of referring to Mary as the Virgin made Church; thus, equating Mary with the Church. Additionally, Pope Venerable Paul VI closed Vatican II by officially giving Mary the title Mother of the Church; also equating Mary with the Church. The Franciscans are also fond of referring to Mary as the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, which, when equating Mary with the Church, demonstrates how the Holy Spirit maintains the infallibility of the Church with the pope as Her visible head. It was through the infallible Church and the pope that the Holy Spirit gave us the Bible. Thus, everyone who says they have not received any graces from Mary and have accepted the Bible, have unknowingly accepted all the graces they have received from the Bible through Mary, the Virgin made Church. In fact, there is nothing Christian that has come to us except through Mary.
The Word of Christ came through His Mother, first through Her person, then the Person of Her Son coming through Her, and then through the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. On this Feast of the Visitation, let us remember the first granting of Christian Faith to an infant through hearing the Word of Christ: John the Baptist, in the womb of his mother Elizabeth, receiving faith through the voice of Mary, the Virgin made Church and Spouse of the Holy Spirit.