Tuesday, February 08, 2011

How Does Baptism Work?

For a Catholic, to have faith is more than just a belief. It's our response to God (CCC 26). By faith, man completely submits his intellect and will to God. (CCC 143).

In essence, to have faith is to be completely obedient to God per Scripture. Christ tells us that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. If we love Him, we will have faith in Him and we will be obedient to Him. That's what faith is.

So, when He says something like, "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," (Matthew 28:19) We are obedient and baptize all disciples.

In Baptism, we are reborn into Christ. Per John 3:5, we are reborn with water and the Spirit. We are stripped of our sinful selves and reborn clean. The grace we receive unites us to Christ and strips us of our sins.

In Baptism, Paul tells us in Colossians that we were circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, stripping off our carnal body. (Colossians 2:11).

He also tells us in Romans that we were Baptized into His death so that we may rise with Him in the Resurrection. (Romans 6:3-5)

John the Baptist explains that with Christ's baptism we will be like wheat where our sinful chaff will be separated from us by His winnowing fork (Matthew 3:11-13) where the chaff will be burned away by fire.

And Peter tells us that Baptism is what saves us (1 Peter 3:21).

So, per Scripture, it is evident that Baptism is necessary and essential per Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, Peter, and Paul.

Trust in His Grace

The only way a child can be disobedient is if he knows he is being disobedient. A child has "invincible ignorance" as they have not yet come of age to discern what is right and what is wrong--in God's eyes.

The only way that you or I or anyone would make it into heaven is through God's mercy. None of us is truly righteous. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And we are all imperfect. We need to trust that God will have mercy on us--as sinners and trust in His grace.

The wrath of God is for those who are truly unrepentant. The disobedient. Those whose pride is so great that they don't feel they need God in their lives. Those who don't seek the will of God but rather do their own will.

For them, we can only hope that God's mercy will reach out to them as well.

Is Hell Real?

Hell is a reality. In order to understand Hell, you need to have an understanding of God. There is a God so great out there who absolutely loves you!

And all He wants is that you love Him back.

Heaven is to be with God. For eternity. Hell, in contrast is eternal separation from Him. It's a void. An emptiness that cannot be filled. It is darkness. The reason a person would go there is because they walk away from God. They turn their back and refuse His love. Hell isn't hate. It is a rejection of God.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

How Are We Saved?

(I wrote this in a Catholic Answers forum--I'm using my blog to keep track of things I wrote)

In Genesis 3, when Adam (and Eve) disobeyed God, they were deprived of the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22). Without the access to the fruit from the Tree of Life, man dies. God placed a fiery sword and a cherubim to guard the Tree (v.24). T

Christ restores the Tree of Life. Through Christ, we have eternal life. His Cross becomes the new Tree of Life and His Body is the fruit. We eat of His Body and we gain eternal life. Through obedience (and Baptism), we are united to Christ and through Christ and His Body, we gain eternal life.

Sin is disobedience to God. If we disobey God, we die. Christ pays for the penalty of our disobedience through His death. So, through His new covenant, we are baptized into Him and with obedience, we remain in Him (per John 15). Our sins are nailed to the cross and we are born anew so that we can rise with Him in the Resurrection.

Is Pope Benedict a Pantheist? -- My Response to John Bugay

Below is my response to John Bugay from a Combox in regards to Pope Benedict allegedly being a Pantheist.

In Catholic thought, we are united to Christ. We become one with Him per John 15. How does this happen? It happens through our obedience to Him. We no longer follow our will but rather we follow Christ. It’s no longer I--it’s now Christ. And then, per Galatians, it’s “no longer I who live but rather Christ who lives inside me.” In essence, we become Christ but only in obedience to Him. We are united to Him and He nourishes us and in doing His will, we spread forth His message.

Now, what in the world is Ratzinger talking about? I’ll be honest. I read it a few times and I was like, “huh????” And thanks to John Bugay, I couldn’t get that stupid song out of my head all day yesterday.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul lays out what Ratzinger/Benedict is talking about. In the Eucharist is the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, Paul talks about how the bread that we break--what Catholics call the Host--is a participation in the Body of Christ. As there is one loaf of bread, then we are all one Body because we partake in one loaf. That one loaf is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ at the one sacrifice at Calvary.

Now, as a Church--as a corporate body, all in unison being obedient to Christ. We become the Body of Christ. We are Christ on earth. Christ is the head per Ephesians 5:23,30 and per Colossians 1:18-23, He is the head and we are the body “provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel.” As Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31, we are one Body of Christ united through Baptism. All following Christ’s will we work together in harmony doing what Christ wants. We have different functions acting as Christ together in harmony. If there is division, it’s like a disease within one body and needs to be healed for “if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.” So, we are Christ on earth and Christ in heaven is the head and we are here to do His will.

What is His will?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19: “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. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." So, our mission as a Church--as a corporate Body of Christ is to go and evangelize the world. It’s to baptize all people and teach them to observe all that Christ commanded.

Christ’s mission is to make all men Christian so that entire WORLD becomes the Body of Christ. That’s what He wants. He doesn’t just want to save some people His desire is that all men come to Him and do His will. His desire is that ALL MEN ARE SAVED.

So, understanding that. Ratzinger’s first paragraph talks about this. Christ is the new Adam who per John will draw all men to Him in the hope that all men are saved.

The second part is a little trickier. He’s talking about the Cosmos and creation. From a macro view, it would seem that the cosmos would be focused on BIG. The galaxies or the stars. or the SMALL, the atom. But that’s not the case. God has shifted this to a focus not on the big but rather on the complex. The focus of the universe has shifted from the stars to the planets. Specifically, it’s focused on earth and on man. Man is the focus of the universe. We are God’s greatest creation. Not the stars. Not the atoms. It’s man.

In the third part, Ratzinger focuses on this great creation of man. God makes man even greater! God has now united man to God. Through Christ, He created a synthesis of man and God and has invited man to participate in this synthesis.

In Benedict’s homily, he’s telling us that with our entire being we must be “adoration and sacrifice.” We must going back to Paul and 1st Corinthians. We are one Body of Christ. We are one loaf. That we as a Church become a living host that transforms the world and gives it back to Christ. Through Christ with the Holy Spirit, we “renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:30) and per de Chardin, we renew the universe.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Seeking God's Will

My Lord God
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following
your will does not mean
that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire
in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

God has wondrous plans for you.  The road to happiness lies in seeking His will not your own.  May you always seek God in your life and He will lead you.  Trust in Him and everything else will take fall into place. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ite Missa Est

Every week, we are sent into a world that is hungry for God. Every week, we are sent to radiate forth the light of Christ. We are sent to share God's love for the world.

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your Spirit and Life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with
may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from You;
none of it will be mine. It will be You,
shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You in the way which You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching,
not by my words but by my example,
by the catching force,
the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears for You. Amen.

--John Cardinal Newman