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It makes a difference, being a baptised person! Christ wants everyone to know that He has descended to earth, to become man, to save us. He, our God, promises that through Baptism we can share His life, and the life of the Father and the Holy Spirit too, the life of the Blessed Trinity. United with God, we become sure of being with them for all eternity, if we do not fall away and persist in mortal sin until death.
We can have a marvellous destiny, if we put our trust in Christ. He wants the whole world to hear about the powerful effect of holy Baptism, which brings about union between the Blessed Trinity and a sinful creature, with the result that a person's sins are forgiven, he receives God in his soul, sharing God's life as a member of the Church, and is made a child of God and an heir to Heaven.
Jesus Christ was God on earth: God-made-man, showing us His plan. He said that by Baptism in water we can be washed clean of sin, through His name, and given a share in His life, through the Holy Spirit, and made worthy of Heaven! Wise people believe what was said by Jesus, who proved His power and His Origin by His miracles, above all by His Resurrection from the dead.
It is tragic that so many people have not been baptised. A family which is affectionate but which ignores or disbelieves in God, and has no respect for the Commandments, cannot be saved by qualities of optimism or human warmth - but only by the grace of Christ accepted. They need the prayers of the faithful, that they will open their eyes to the truth which they have never encountered, or have half-heard, and dismissed.
Just before Christ ascended in triumph to Heaven, after His Resurrection, He sent out His disciplines, so that they would tell the world the truth about Christ. He asked them to say: "He who believes and is baptised will be saved, but he who refuses to believe is condemned", which means, condemns himself through refusing the Eternal Life which is given with Baptism. To say 'no' to God, and His Son, brings terrible consequences, through one's own fault.
To be baptised is to have received a wonderful gift of Divine Life. But many people outside the visible Communion of the Catholic Church receive no clear instruction about faith, and holy living, as their own leaders argue about the need for sacraments, and about sexual morality. It is sometimes as tragic a state as if a person had received a wonderful computer, but without a user's manual. It could remain inactive or ever useless.
Just as a person with a computer but no instruction manual presses various buttons but has no help from the computer until the booklet arrives, so many persons baptised outside the visible Communion of the Catholic Church have received a valuable gift, and try to live according to the various theories of various Christian leaders, who argue about faith and morals; but only when they are received into full Communion do they receive clear instruction about holy living, and receive the power from God in the Sacraments.
Many people have a poor understanding of the purpose of the Priesthood. It's as if they peer at these men through a great cloud of incomprehension, and yet expect Baptism, marriage services and burial. If more of the Clergy did what the Lord has called them to do - asking sinners to repent and to avoid Hell, and to accept the grace that leads to Heaven, people would understand them more clearly, and some would respect them for their courage.
A Christian artist is right to use images of a font or a full-immersion Baptismal pool in paintings, as reminders of the process of conversion and sanctification. This is the path the Heaven: the path which leads through Baptism to union with the Blessed Trinity - and, as life continues, a way of even deeper purification necessary because of day-to-day sins.
Christ is the way, the truth and the life: the only Saviour. Christ asks every Christian teacher, author, parent, religious, Clergyman and missionary to do what St. Paul did, who urged people to be reconciled with God, through Christ, in Baptism or Confession. It is as if Christ says, in this age of hesitation or even doubt: 'Would you send people to a false god or to false prophets?' He is the Way.
Christ wants everyone to know and serve Him, in His Church. Everyone who claims to know Christ's Will, and professes a desire to lead people to Christ, must examine his conscience. He must answer to God for what he sees in his own heart. Each of us knows if we are really urging people to turn to Christ, or are encouraging indifferentism, saying it doesn't really matter about commitment or Baptism.
If we live in a state of grace, having received Divine Life, in union with Christ, through Baptism, we pray in the Name of Christ, in the light of the Holy Spirit; we can pray in confidence that the Father hears every prayer. It's as though Christ is leaning from Heaven, lowering a pail, as if down a well, so that He can draw up our prayers, to read each one to the Father, telling the Father of our needs and desires.
Throughout history, people have called out to a god or 'gods' in the hope of being heard, but uncertain of it. If we belong to Christ by Baptism, and live in a state of grace, we can be certain that every prayer we offer is heard, and is answered in a way that is best for us. It's as if, when we pray, Jesus lowers a pail from Heaven, to draw up our prayers and petitions, as if up a well-lit shaft. Then He reads each prayer, in person, to God the Father. This is only one of the joys and privileges of being brothers and sisters of Christ, and adopted 'children of God'.
If a person imagines that he can achieve union with God by his own strenuous efforts, he is mistaken. Christ, God and man, has told us so, and invites us to have faith in Him and to share His Divine life through Baptism. We can do penance for sin; but no-one achieves union by building a tower to be closer to Heaven, or by walking painfully, barefoot, round the world, or by walking on hot coals or by any other efforts.
Christ's saving work on earth was something that only He could do. As God-made-man, He enabled sinful human beings to know and love Him, and, through Him, the Father. We can neither free ourselves from our sins nor know, without Christ and His Revelation, exactly how to please the Father. Through His Spirit, given in Baptism, we receive power; and through His Church, in every age, Truth, to guide us.
The gift we are given at Baptism is the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who can lift our souls up to Heaven, across the gulf, when we die. A person who has become careless or disobedient and who has driven away the Spirit of Love, and no longer lives in a state of grace, will be lost, at death, in the Abyss, unable to rely on the Holy Spirit, having refused Him.
Only because Christ suffered and died, as man, to conquer sin and death by rising up from the grave, has He made it possible for us sinners to follow in His Way. We who trust in Him, and go into the 'tomb' in our Baptism, and renounce sin, and carry our sufferings in patience, like crosses, know that our prayers are heard, and that Heaven awaits all who remain faithful.
There are still many people who have not yet heard the Gospel preached. It is true, as the Church teaches, that it is possible for a person not baptised to be saved. However, this is far less likely than many people suppose, for the simple reason that many non-Christians have committed grave sins - as Christians have - but have never repented. Many have refused to join the Church, or mocked her, or mocked her priests; and of the rest, how many have followed the promptings of their conscience, for a life-time, until death, to do good and to avoid what everyone should know is evil? Only God knows.
There is a tremendous need for intercessary prayer. It is possible for the non-baptised to be saved, if they have never heard the Gospel but have persevered until death in doing good and avoiding evil; but many non-Christians have refused to believe in Christ. Others have committed grave sin and refused to repent. Others have mocked the Church or mocked her priests. Others have ignored the call of conscience, and followed selfish ways, knowing these were wrong. Thousands fall into Hell, everyday, alongside unrepentant Christians.
The love of God is like a great flame that encloses all who trust in Christ. By our Baptism, we are made members of the Church and children of God. We already share in the life of God, and can be confident that our prayers are heard, and confident that, if we do not leave that state of grace, we will be carried across the Abyss when we die, to be brought towards Heaven: carried in the love of God, with no fear of being lost.
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