It was two years yesterday since I wrote this piece after nearly being killed on Highway 91. I can still see that elk trying to come through my window. Shivers.
I must preface this post with a confession; This topic of baptism is one that I am truly still learning, as I un-learn some of the things I was taught as a Protestant. I grew up in the Church of Christ, but did not fully understand this topic as understood and taught by the Christian Church/Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ. I latched on to the teaching of some of my friends from another denomination that taught that Baptism (as well as Communion) is a symbol, or picture of what has happened in the heart and soul of one when they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and are saved. Bear with me, please, as I learn as I go here. My friend’s question, is an issue taken with the Baltimore Catechism that teaches Jesus is the Redeemer, and that we cannot merit grace, followed by teaching that Baptism is a necessary for salvation.
153. Q. Are actual sins ever remitted by Baptism?
A. Actual sins and all the punishment due to them are remitted by Baptism, if the person baptized be guilty of any, and is rightly disposed.
*If Baptism remits sin, why did Jesus need to die?*
154. Q. Is Baptism necessary to salvation?
A. Baptism is necessary to salvation, because without it we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
*Okay, but I thought Jesus was the redeemer? Baptism falls into the “works” category.*
I’m going to be ornery and turn this question around. If baptism was not necessary, why would Jesus have bothered? (I also would like to address the comment that baptism falls into the “works” category, but I’m going to use a separate post for that.)
Baptism is commanded, Christ was our example, and in obedience, by faith, we say “yes” to God and obey:
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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”
Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 3:19 when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Baptism is the believer’s natural response to faith/acceptance. Please see:
Acts 2:41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
See Acts 8:35 Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” 38 He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
Acts 9:17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized,
Acts 16:14 A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15 When she and her household were baptized..The.
Acts 16:30 Then he (the jailor) brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord[f] to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.
The Catechism of the Catholic church affirms clear Biblical teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation. Please see:
The Sacraments of Christian Initiation, sections II, VI, and VII. To sum up:
1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. (1129, 161, 846)
Incidentally, it wasn’t part of the original question, but I found the Catholic Church’s teaching on unbaptized persons very interesting, and may be somewhat surprising to one who has only heard from others what the Catholic Church teaches about baptism and salvation…check it out!
CCC – 1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament. (2473)
1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament. (1249)
1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”63Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity. (848)
1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,”64allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism. (1257, 1250)
References: The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catholic Women Rising has a petition up for Catholic Women who accept the teachings of the Catholic Church in relation to women’s issues. If you agree with the statement below, add your name to the comments on their page.
“I am a faithful practicing Roman Catholic woman, who attends Mass at least once a week and who believes in and practices the Church’s teachings, specifically pertaining to matters on sexuality, contraception, abortion, marriage and the ordination of women. I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is sympathetic to and representative of the needs and concerns of women and their children, wherever they may be in the world. I would like to offer our new Pope Francis, my prayers and support and thank him for his continued protection and support of mothers and their unborn children. I fully endorse Church doctrine in relation to women’s issues.”
Go now and read the rest, it’s so good! What an exciting time to be a Catholic woman!
This blog has been set up as a place where faithful practicing Catholic women may register their support for Catholic doctrine regarding women, in particular issues relating to sexuality, contraception, abortion, marriage and the male priesthood.
It is for women who accept that the teaching of the Catholic Church was revealed to us by Jesus Christ and handed down by the apostles, expressed in sacred scripture and tradition and is therefore not able to be modified or deleted. This is a place where women can joyfully testify to the freedom from oppression that accompanies an authentic God-given expression of sexuality and chastity.
If you agree with the statement below, please register your support in the comments box.
I am a faithful practicing Roman Catholic woman, who attends Mass at least once a week and who believes in and practices the Church’s teachings, specifically pertaining to matters on sexuality, contraception, abortion…
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I happened upon this Novena yesterday, and have seen it come up twice today. I will begin this novena tonight for a knot that has developed in our family over the years.
Have you ever heard of this novena?
If you’re enough lucky to be Irish…
You’re lucky enough!
May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.
May those who love us, love us
And those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts
And if he can’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping!
May the lilt of lush laughter lighten ever road,
May the midst of Irish magic shorten every road.
May you taste the sweetest pleasures
that fortune ever bestowed,
And may all your friends remember
all the favors you are owed.
May the best day of your past
Be the worst day of your future.
and finally…a prayer for your St. Patty’s Sunday:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
This has been a mellow/melancholic week at New Things.
I’m still learning balance, and boundaries, and have not quite attained either yet. I have both a fix-it mentality as well as an empathetic spirit, this is a blessing and a curse (as Monk would say) but mostly a curse. When someone I love hurts, I ache physically with them. This causes me to jump into business that is not my own, and try to fix things that I have no business (or know-how) trying to fix. Of course, if I could just remember to listen and pray, and restrain myself from butting in, I’d have a lot less regrets, and a lot more peace…and I’d hurt less people in the process. I pray for those that I have wounded in my eagerness and zeal, that they would see my heart, bear with my failures and forgive me. Hopefully, I learn something from the failure, and pick myself up and try to do better next time.
In The News
After just five conclave votes, we have a new Pope. I love that he was selected on 3-13-13…do you see the Holy Trinity in this number? Another cool number thing…he is the 365th successor to Peter…those numbers also add up to 13. I have a thing for numbers, and I love it when they play nice for me 🙂 I think it’s very interesting and a little funny that so few knew anything about him. I’ve found several stories about him, and it’s clear that this man walks the talk…doesn’t put on any airs, looked genuinely surprised and humbled to be chosen by the conclave, and immediately gave such a beautiful example of humility and grace when he asked for the crowd to pray for him before he spoke his words of blessing on them. What a beautiful spirit.
And the more I read, the more I love him. His genuine love for others that results in service to them. His connection with the people around him, being one of them, not above paying his own tab and packing his own clothes…not above using public transit…like one of the people.
What I’m reading this week:
One of my online friends sent me a package of books that arrived last weekend. I’m enjoying “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” by Matthew Kelly, as well as the YouCat (Youth Catechism). I do so love the format, and readability of the YouCat, it may become one of the most used resources on my bookshelf.
Catholic Answers takes on faith and works…one of the several blog posts I’ve been working on for my Baltimore Catechism series…very well done!
Book of Harmony This is a brilliant post by Clotilda Jamcracker. I have blogger envy, and seriously need to write my own book of harmony, and memorize it, so I have a word in due season! I tried to follow this blog, but my reader says it can’t find an RSS feed for that blog, bummer!
The Daily Readings of the Catholic Church…a vital part of my daily quiet time with the Lord.
In My Spare Time
Still walking, weather permitting. This week has been nice, and I’ve gotten out for walks as well as a hike around my sister’s property, and part of a Saturday work day at her place. Today we helped plant onions and potatoes in their huge garden. It will be nice to watch it grow, and enjoy the fruit of our labors.
I’m learning how to concentrate better in prayer, and meditate on God’s Word. My thoughts are easily distracted, especially in prayer, and it has been helpful for me to have some online help in this area. These links have been a tremendous help in keeping my mind focused and moving in the right direction, you might find them helpful as well:
Come Pray the Rosary This is a link to a site where you can pray along in real time with others, or individually if you’d rather. There are beautiful relevant pictures from the Holy Land that are a huge help for me to focus and meditate on the sacred mysteries.
The Angelus Prayer An online reading of the Angelus. Beautiful. I love the Scripture that is recited in this.
The Divine Mercy Prayer in a Song I could listen to this all through the day, it really helps to relax me and focus on the Body of Christ, His Passion and His mercy. Just beautiful.
On My Prayer List This Week:
My dear reader, SR at Being Faithful to Grace, is caring for her mother who has dementia. She has been on my heart and in my prayers frequently this week.
Thank you for your prayers for me this past week. I woke up the other morning with the thought/prayer running through my head, that I am bought with a price, my body is not mine, but the Lord’s…and He is perfectly capable of bringing beautiful things out of a sore arm, or to heal it if He chooses. I gave this arm and its pain and swelling to Him to do as He pleases. When it hurts, I try to remember to offer it up as a sacrifice of praise. It is still sore and a little swollen, but I have regained a little bit of the range of motion that I had lost, for which I am so grateful. It also has begun to itch under the skin at the site of the original injury. I hope that is a good sign, that maybe there is healing happening there now. We’ll see. I’d still appreciate prayers if you are so inclined.
That’s about it from this end. Have a good weekend!
102. Q. Which are the chief effects of the Redemption?
A. The chief effects of the Redemption are two: The satisfaction of
God’s justice by Christ’s sufferings and death, and the gaining of grace
*The satisfaction of God’s justice! We can’t do any better than that!*
103. Q. What do you mean by grace?
A. By grace I mean a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us, through
the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation.
*In other words, a supernatural gift from God that we cannot earn.*
Right…the gift of grace is His, by Christ’s suffering and death, and it satisfies God’s justice. I truly cannot wrap my head around the mental gymnastics that have to be done to be able to say with a straight face that the Catholic Church teaches salvation by works. Over and over again the Catechism of the Catholic Church repeats the themes of grace and redemption, of Christ’s atonement that provides satisfaction.
It is a dishonest and slanderous allegation that the Catholic Church teaches eternal life is earned by our works of righteousness. Both the Baltimore Catechism and the Catechism of the Catholic Church have clearly shown that the Church teaches that salvation is a gift of God, through the work of Christ, and there is no other way to achieve it. Be careful that the words you hear and repeat are not bearing false witness.
That said, I will not hesitate to agree that an honest paradox happens in the teaching of the Catholic Church in this matter. It is true that the Catholic Church teaches that we do participate in our salvation by our response in obedience to what is commanded. As I pointed out earlier in this post, the “His gift/My response” dynamic. That’s not to say that we earn it, but that we participate in it by our obedience. This thought process continues in the next post…in the meantime, you might read through Chapter 3 of the Catechism (Man’sResponse to God), and look up the verses that are listed with each section.
Rough draft…still working on it.
It seemed to Ruthie that she had lived in this little hole forever. Her Papa had talked about leaving before, when times got hard and food became scarce, but her Momma wouldn’t hear of it. She stubbornly put her foot down and quietly announced her intention to remain. Momma said she’d rather starve to death here than leave this wonderful memory-filled home. How Momma loves her little hovel. From the time of their arrival, she has worked hard to make it comfortable and homey and takes pride in the presentation of the provisions that Papa brings home or that they are fortunate enough to find on their daily jaunts.
The inhabitants who had previously shared the building have since come and gone. They didn’t really “live” here, they were more like frequent visitors. One to three times a week, the rooms would be filled with to the brim with a myriad of personalities and diverse activities. From their peekhole through the walls, Ruthie and her family witnessed their laughter, tears, singing, and rousing speeches that Momma called “sermons”. The best part of these meetings, if you were to ask Ruthie, were the wonderful aromas of the covered dishes that accompanied the visitors, and the generosity of those present who saved a bit to share with her humble family.
When the meetings were over, the five little mice would scamper about (Papa and Momma leading the charge), and help clean up, first from the middle of the eating room, and eventually the corners and baseboards. Every day, they’d clean, as Momma taught them, “like she liked it done”, and would store what they couldn’t eat for later. By the time the next meeting day rolled around, they would have licked the place clean, and were ready to start the next stash.
Those were the good days; days of plenty, of prosperity and plenty. Those were carefree, happy childhood days of sweet memories and contentment preceding some terrible days of heartache, hunger, and yearning; before Sissy grew up and moved away, and before Momma quit humming. The sanctuary, once filled with sermon and song became eerily quiet, and the sound of their feet echoed through the hall. Momma’s well-stocked pantry was quickly depleted, forcing Papa, Brother and Ruthie, for the first time in months, to venture outside the safety of their walls to look for food, often only to return empty-handed, hungry and more discouraged than ever.
They were right on the verge of complete starvation, and Papa had just about talked Momma into moving and finding a new place when they heard the most dreadful noises coming from the sanctuary. Heavy footsteps, thunderous pounding and roaring laughter continued until well after dark, for nights on end. By and by Ruthie worked up the courage to venture out and to her surprise noticed that carpet had been installed to cover the cold wood floors! Also, a pile of bags and boxes alongside several large pieces of furniture had accumulated in the sanctuary.
Near as anyone could tell, there were three new inhabitants sharing their home. The eating room became functional again and continues to provides an abundance of food. Instead of one shared meal two or three days a week, they now look forward to two, and sometimes three, meals every day. Gathering and cleanup is more of a challenge, as there are now people here to work around, but they quickly learned to wait until the family leaves for the day or goes to sleep at night, they have enough uninterrupted time to eat their fill every day as well as the collect enough to put some away for a rainy day.
From her bed, Ruthie can hear Papa snoring, and Momma’s gentle humming in the kitchen. She feels safe and secure as she counts her blessings before she goes to sleep;
For Momma, Papa, Sissy, and Brother,
for good food and fellowship with one another.
For hugs and kisses and bedtime prayers,
for laughter, and singing, and memories shared.