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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Complacency in the Age of Mercy

I see a lot of complacency in the Catholic world, in this "Age of Divine Mercy." I'm not slamming Divine Mercy...it helped bring me home! And I'm a HUGE fan of God's mercy! EVERY DAY!

Yet for a few years now, I've been noticing a tendency even among the most devout to sort of simply the ideas and almost "excuse" themselves or others with the adage..."We have to trust in God's mercy."

Yes, we do. But we also need to talk about OUR obligations, and we need to discuss the real theology behind what we believe. We are obligated, as Catholics, to know our faith, and even to evangelize! But what message does it send when we can't be bothered to care about the fact that Baptism is NECESSARY for salvation?

FACT: Those baptized invalidly ARE NOT BAPTIZED. Thus, in order to correct the situation, they are notn "conditionally" baptized, but, in fact, they must be BAPTIZED for the first time! Simply "trusting in God's mercy" doesn't correct an invalid baptism. The idea of "baptism of desire" applies to an extraordinary situation. It would apply, if, say, you are en route in desperation to the church to request baptism and a large mosquito picks you up and feeds you to a nest of velociraptors in the swamp behind your house. You'd have the proper disposition and desperation and intention. God can work with that. But you can't go through life and excuse the lack of baptism by saying, "Well..they MEANT well...I'll just trust in God and evetually get around to being baptized again."

In my previous post on this issue, while sitting in class on Sunday I took what I was learning and made it "personal", asking the "what if" question. This solidified everything for me, for it's easy to take an abstract idea and just learn it. But to make it personal and applicable to me, or someone I love? NOW it's a big deal! And I nearly wept right there in class at the very idea of having an invalid baptism. I may have spoken with some hyperbole in order to make my point, but I had a more important point, one applicable to EVERYONE!

LOSING YOUR BAPTISM

Are you aware that, when you committ mortal sin, you completely sever your relationship with God? It's not God that severs anything; He is immutable, unchanging, and basically unaffected. It is WE who change, and in fact, we erase our Baptisms completely!

THIS was really the main point of that post; the reality that we may sometimes CHOOSE to deny our Baptism and sever ourselves from a relationship with God. And it's in the Catechism, folks. Pick it up and read it and let it change your life!

So, in a state of mortal sin, if we recognize we've done such a thing, why aren't we all FLOCKING to Confession, calling up the priest and in desperation asking to be restored? We can certainly have a "perfect act of contrition" but with that we must also have the intention of getting to sacramental Confession as soon as we are able. So what's the problem? Why aren't we desperate?

Simple; because we don't understand the teachings, we don't understand what we've lost, and even some of the most educated Catholics have been drawn into complacency with regard to the true effects of sin. (And yes, even the most devout Catholics may sometimes commit mortal sin, but that's not the point of this post).

We cannot just pooh-pooh sin and losing our Baptism with the adage, "God will understand" or "We have to trust in God's mercy". YES! That's true, we DO, however, we have to take responsiblity and realize where we are wrong and get our butts into the Confessional where God can directly enact His mercy upon us! To do otherwise is to be Protestant! We are not saved by faith alone!

I realize most of my readers probably "get" this concept and I'm probably preaching to the choir. But you've all lamented the short confessional lines. That's good for you when you need to go...bad for the implicantions of everyone who isn't there...and should be!

In a state of grave sin, we lose our Baptism; but in a moment of contrition, there in Confession...we are restored according to our dispositions. Isn't this glorious?

We have to be educated in order to help others understand; because we have to face the fact that most Catholics in this day and age have NO IDEA what the teachings are. They are caught up in secularism and relativism. Yes, teach them about God's mercy and really focus on that...but don't let them wallow around thinking that all they have to do is trust...and continue in their sin. People need to be restored to a relationship with God, and YOU are the one God is sending to reach out to those people and (gently) provide them with the information they need to increase their desperation for God.

Don't be complacent and don't let someone else's complacency keep you from understanding that the Sacraments are a HUGE DEAL, and we SHOULD be excited about them, and we SHOULD have the desperation of the woman with the hemorrhage of the gospels EACH time we receive a Sacrament!

Trust in God's mercy, certainly...but His Mercy still requires us to have a particular disposition in order to receive it!

I can't say this strongly enough; if you aren't excited about the Sacraments, if you aren't receiving them in a state of pure desperation out of love for God...then you simply have no idea what's going on!

*
** (yes, I'm speaking in hyperbole again...but only slightly!) ***

15 comments:

Marcus Aurelius said...

'losing our baptism' is a decent analogy to get your point across about mortal sin severing our relationship with God, but it isn't fully correct. Baptism is an indellible mark.

Alli said...

Great post! I wish priests would actually say these things to their parishioners...

Terry Nelson said...

I agree completely - I've wanted to do a similar post on the same subject.

adoro said...

Marcus ~ That's why I didn't say "invalidat" but we DO lose the grace of baptism, and in effect, we choose Hell. Thus we'd go to Hell with an indelible mark on our soul which has been rendered inactive and useless. We are saved through baptism, but only if we cooperate, thus, when we sin mortally we lose our baptism.

Marcus Aurelius said...

Indelible means indelible. We don't lose it and it is never rendered useless. Rendered a weak voice of conscience, perhaps, but that indellible mark is still speaking to the most murderous catholic gangster trying to urge him to mend his ways and come back to the lord.

adoro said...

Marcus ` Indeed it does become rendered useless; for if we commit mortal sin, we lose ALL the graces of baptism. However, once baptized, we don't need to be baptized again as long as the original baptism was valid. But if we die unrepentant, even with that mark of baptism, we'd still end up in Hell, eternally separated from God. This is a doctrine of the faith; we are obligated to believe it.

Yes, that grace of baptism will hopefully continue to speak to someone, but they have free will and can reject that voice. And one in mortal sin cannot receive the sacraments; (but for Confession). A person who is married in a state of mortal sin...isn't married. HOWEVER, once they make sacramental confession, the Grace is activated. That is why we do not need to be re-baptized every time we fall away into serious sin.

Anonymous said...

Adoro, I agree these things do matter, and we do need to teach people what the Church actually presents as THE Truth. Yes, Our actions matter! I grew up Protestant. I KNOW the difference. I have gone to confession a few times mortally afraid of Hell because I realized that there were potential mortal sins on my soul that I couldn't remember confessing. Just remember that there is a difference between the formal teaching of the and some ideas and explanations of Saints and theologians. For example, LIMBO is a THEORY not a formal tenet of faith.
We have tp dp our part, but the rest is up to God.
One of the things that struck me in the writings of both Mother Teresa and the Little Flower is how both (in different words) indicate a willingness to be even in Hell if it would please God. My faith is nowhere near that mature! I don't want even a second of seperation of God! No matter how much I screw up and seek my way instead of His, I don't really want to be apart from Him!.

I'm sorry this is long. I guess the point I'm really trying to make is that we need to know and live (in actions) what the magisterium teaches and trust God for everyone and everything else. The goal is to love God and let Christ live through us trusting God with the results.

Samantha

Maureen said...

The thing is, the laws of eternity have just as strong of natural consequences as the laws of nature. God created and set them both up, and they are both the real way the world works, not just some kind of made-up legal formulae that only have consequences in people's heads.

Now, this is not to say that God will not do His utmost to save us. But honestly, if we don't do anything to respond (like at least trying to hustle our butts over to church to get baptized, if we'd heard that the first try had been an empty hoax), God would have every just right in the world to decide that since we obviously didn't really want to be saved, He's not going to push something on us we don't want.

God sees our hearts. And sometimes our hearts... Well, maybe your heart is good, but mine? Not so much.

So sure, trust in Divine Mercy. No better Persons to trust.

But we can't take that as some kind of license to tempt God, or he's likely to demonstrate the ol' Divine Justice when we die.

adoro said...

Samantha ~ Long comments are fine...I'm guilty of them often! The problem is that most of us can't compare our faith to those giants, and those giants don't need to worry about the little things because they're living them out all the time...which is why we call them SAINTS! lol

Yes, limbo is in question, however, the teachings I recieved over this weekend were enough to make me realize the importance of the Sacraments and not to take them for granted!

THAT'S what I"m talking about! People take them for granted, and there's no zeal, there's no realization as to what they're doing. Confession is rote, Holy Communion is robotic...they do it because...it's the thing Catholics do. And if you ask them what the Sacraments mean, they give you a deer-in-the-headlights look. Why go to Confession? What are the effects of Mortal Sin? Can you go to Hell? Is Hell for real?

Is Baptism necessary for Salvation?

Ask those questions and check the responses...it will terrify you.

We need trust God, yes, love God, yes...but we also have to take action. The Lord Himself dictates this to us. He invites us to participate in the life of Salvation, which gives Him far more glory!

And we're not disagreeing, I'm only making the point that everyone continues to rely on "trust God and His mercy"...YES! But take YOUR part! Evanglize those in the pews next to you! Let them know how important the Sacraments are, because those graces will change their lives and make them Saints...if they only KNEW!

adoro said...

Maureen ~ Well stated! Thank you!

God will not save us without our permission. Even if we have that indelible mark of baptism, if we choose to deny it by falling into mortal sin and obstinantly remaining there...we condemn ourselves with an indelible mark. One of the lambs gone to slaughter of its own choosing...eternal slaughter. Is there anything more tragic?

We have to ASK for the sacraments, and God, in His mercy, has made them so readily availalble. I KNOW I need help, and were it not for Confession, I don't know where I'd be.

(Incidentally I had a wonderful Confession last night, thanks to the wonderful priest who heard it and responded with the words of the Holy Spirit...)

Anyway, here I go again...lol. Thanks, Maureen!

uncle jim said...

so, how does one find out that they had an invalid baptism?

how do we know ours was valid?

i bet most were infant baptized and of course didn't cognitively hear the trinitarian formula expressed.

other present probably didn't pay that much attention to the words either.

so, if i presume mine is valid, then what?

adoro said...

Uncle Jim ~ If you haven't gotten a letter from your Bishop or the parish where you were baptized informing you of invalid baptisms, well...you're safe. The Bishops KNOW where this stuff happened, and to whom, and they make sure those people are informed.

Hidden One said...

And us baptized as Protestants get to trust our ministers.

LarryD said...

Good post, Adoro. We have to take great care not to be presumptious of God's mercy (cf CCC 2092), such as thinking "God understands I'm sorry and I don't need to go to confession"; which is different from trusting in His mercy, such as knowing that He has forgiven us after going to the sacrament of confession, that our sins are truly forgiven (if we were contrite, of course).

And thanks for the reminder - I need to get to confession tomorrow.

Sister Caprice said...

Hidden One ~ As long as your Pastor wasn't a feminist, I think you're OK. :-)

Larry D: I need to live in the Confessional. I think maybe Jesus shouldn't let me leave because the second I do, I need to come back. * sigh *

And thanks..."presumption" is the perfect word!