With humor and ease, Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, deftly unlocks the 'one thing,' the key to the Church's wisdom, and the greatest mystery of the Catholic faith: the Most Holy Trinity... Read more
Baptism Saves You
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly — John 10:10.
Last time, we learned how Adam and Eve lost sanctifying grace for themselves and their descendants. This month, we'll learn how Jesus, the New Adam, restores sanctifying grace — through the Sacrament of Baptism.
When Adam and Eve fell, they disobeyed God and did not keep His commandment. That is, they did not trust God. They did not love Him enough to obey Him, to bear a real cost for their obedience. They sinned against Him, and so harmed the relationship between God and humanity. God is love, remember, and those who live in love live in God (see 1 Jn 4:16). Adam and Eve lived in the will to power, trying to seize divinity for themselves. That is the demonic path, the path of masters and slaves. The divine path is self-gift and trust, the path of fathers and sons (see Phil 2:5-11).
Adam and Eve fell and disrupted the relationship between God and humanity. How are familial relationships restored or formed? By covenants, as Dr. Scott Hahn has explained in numerous books, articles, and talks. For an in-depth explanation, see A Father Who Keeps His Promises and Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments. Simply, the mark of the covenant between God and the children of Abraham was circumcision. It showed the restored relationship between God and His people, indicating their trust in God's promise to raise up descendants of Abraham, countless as the stars in the sky (see Gn 12:1-3; 17; 22:17).
And then, with the coming of Christ, the mark of the new and everlasting covenant is Baptism:
In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ. You were buried with Him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead (Col 2:9-12).
Jesus' command to baptize is very clear:
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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Mt 28:19-20).
Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above. ... Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit (Jn 3:3, 5).
Does this mean that everyone who is not baptized will go to hell? No. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
Although in ways known to Himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please Him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men (848).
So it is through Baptism that sanctifying grace, or the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in the hearts of believers, is ordinarily restored. Next time, we'll talk about what happens when we sin, and what help God has given us.
For more, see Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC's The 'One Thing' Is Three (Product Code: TH-ONE), pages 85-94. To order, visit shopmercy.org or call 1-800-462-7426.
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Temples of the Holy Spirit
From Sons to Slaves
Baptism Saves You
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Eucharist Nourishes You
Confirmation Ignites You
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