THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
11 June 2017
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All power in Heaven and on earth is in the hands of Jesus Christ. Invoking this power and authority, He has commissioned His Disciples. He sends them throughout the world to teach all nations. They are to teach all that He has taught them. Those who will accept this Faith are then to be baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
Instruction and Faith actually precede the sacrament of Baptism. To know of the need for Baptism and then desire it, is already a grace from God. Grace and Faith are already in the person's soul before the sacrament of Baptism is administered. Baptism strengthens and increases both grace and Faith.
In the process of Baptizing, the soul is washed clean of every stain of sin. Once sin is removed, grace finds no obstacles in the way. The baptized soul is filled with the Holy Ghost. The stage is thus set for the ever increasing flow of God's grace into this soul. These graces increase with the reception of the other sacraments throughout our lives. Every actual sin committed after our Baptism is a spiritual setback. Sin is an obstacle for grace. It takes up a place in our souls that should be filled with grace. There is, therefore, a void created by sin. Our souls when engrossed with sin are devoid of grace and are therefore empty, or shallow.
In Ecclesiastes we are told all things are vain or empty; the pursuit after them is a chase after the wind. Sin is this preference for this emptiness rather than for God. When our souls are filled with the love of these things, we are filled with emptiness. When we are filled with the love of God and His grace we are filled, and ever receiving more.
Many in the world experience this emptiness of soul and never understand the cause of it. They live lives that are unfulfilled but, cannot do anything about it. St. Augustine experienced this and wrote of it in his Confessions: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." This is why before we are baptized we make our profession of Faith, and we renounce Satan and all his works, we turn away from the devils, and this world, so that we may be filled with God and His grace. The key to living a full life here on earth is in living a life of virtue. It has nothing to do with filling our lives with things. Things cannot fill our hearts or satisfy our need to love and be loved.
When we understand that grace actually precedes the sacrament of Baptism, we find another verification of the doctrine of Baptism of Desire. With God there is no time. There is no past or future. God is eternally present. Our entire lives are before Him in the present. He therefore accepts our desire and intentions as if they are already done. These must be true desires, not just fanciful whims. The desires of the heart and soul are actually more important than any physical act. The lusting person is already guilty of adultery even before any word is spoken or action is taken. The person with anger in his heart is already guilty of murder before any word is spoken or any action is taken. In the same manner, the person truly desirous of receiving the sacrament of Baptism has already received grace before any word is spoken or any action is taken. It is in fact a grace to even desire the sacrament.
It is foolish to argue that we do not need the actual sacrament; or we only need the desire of it. To even state such a thing is contradictory. The very desire demands that there is a pursuit to the actual attainment of the object of the desire otherwise it is not truly a desire. The desire motivated by love is eager to be satisfied in the actual obtaining; it can never be satisfied to remain an unfulfilled yearning.
The Church has taught us what Jesus has said and done, She has brought us to the Baptismal fount and baptized us in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Our souls were then cleansed and open to a life of graces. Only sin has held us back, only sin has given us that feeling of emptiness, uselessness or of being unfulfilled. Let, us take note of what sin has done to us and once again renounce it, as we have already done in our Baptism. All is not lost. God has given us the sacrament of Penance to aid us in returning to that life of Grace in Him. May we make use of all the sacraments that He has given us and advance in grace and virtue day by day in a life that is truly full and satisfying and ends in Eternal Life.
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