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Monday, May 26, 2008

Desperation of Salvation


This weekend in class, although we spoke early on about the invalid baptismal formula of "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier", it came up again and prompted me to make it personal. What if I had been baptized in this manner? What would that mean for my life now, and for my eternal salvation?

Here I am, an adult, having been Baptised, having received Holy Communion countless times, and having been Confirmed. I have fully embraced our faith, I believe all the Church teaches, and I'm constantly striving to learn more...I have 2,000 years to catch up on!

But I asked myself that question: what if? What if it was a sham, and I was never validly Baptized?

Had I died, as I would still have the stain of original sin, I would not have the Beatific Vision, but I would be seeing God through a veil, for I would have the Baptism of Desire...but that's not what we're made for. We are made for eternal union with God. But I am living; so in my musings I need not think too hard on limbo or purgatory.

I would need to focus on my life as it is...and where I'm headed.

If I was not validly Baptised, it would mean that the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation would be invalid. I wouldn't really be Catholic. I wouldn't be receiving those graces. But I would have to then be Baptized properly, I'd have to receive First Holy Communion...for real, and I'd have to be Confirmed.

As I sat in class, musing on these things, suddenly a sense of desperation arose in me; I nearly wept at the very thought that I would be so cut off from the mistake of those who had gone before me! I would be angry at the betrayal of the priest and my parents, and I would RUN, not walk, to my Pastor, pound down his door and BEG for the Sacraments, right there on the spot!

I would not be able to live another moment without valid sacraments; I would fear for my salvation, and I would desperately be grasping for our Lord, in that very moment, panicking, realizing that I'd been living a false life.

I have no idea how a priest would handle that, if a fully informed adult would come to him begging for the Sacraments, someone known to him but who had only learned of an invalid baptism. I have to wonder if that has happened, and how the Pastor handled it?

Would he be able to provide those Sacraments on the spot, so to speak? Or would that soul, even the most educated, still have to attend classes for "preparation"?

I'd be begging for instant Baptism, instant Confirmation, instant Holy Communion...because, knowing what these Sacraments mean, I don't think I could live without them. And I suspect my Pastor would be as horrified, or even more so than I in such a situation. Yet...what would he be able to do?

But this musing made me ask another question, one with more universal application.

Are you aware that, if you commit a mortal sin, you lose your Baptism? Literally, you are severed from God. That literally means that you've rendered your other Sacraments not only invalid, but each time you receive Holy Communion you bring judgment upon yourself. Because it's not a matter of someone else's embrace of the heresy of Modalism or some other, but your own personal rejection of God.

So I considered this, and wondered...when I have been in a state of mortal sin, or if I am in the future, or even now, why have I not felt that same desperation to come back to God? Why have I not immediately beaten down Father's door, begging to be reconciled? Because each valid Cofession is akin to being Baptised again, to being Confirmed again, and, upon the reception of Holy Communion, it's like the same one again!

We get so locked into our sins that we don't realize how lost we are; we sometimes learn about the heresies, but without understanding that their implications are alive and well today and they are condemned because even our everyday actions might thrust us outside of God's grace! And we're so complacent to that. It's great to talk about Modalism and how awful it is that the feminists have cut so many off from Salvation...but what of all of us who choose mortal sin and sever that relatinonship with God all on our own?

Why are we not so desperate?

We should all receive all of the Sacraments in such a state of complete desperation. We should all be striving for our Salvation in a state of fear and trembling, loving our Lord so much that our fear is that we would be cut off from Him for eternity.
*




** "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier" is actually the heresy of Modalism, which finds its way innocently even into common religious ed programs, including RCIA, through well-meaning instructors who use the example of water: vapor, ice, water. This is Sabellianism, or Modalism, as it was commonly called, which mistakenly identfies the Trinity according to "modes" as in different modes of water. To baptise someone according to modalism is invalid for it is not a pronouncement of the Trinity. And to teach others about the Trinity according to the example of water is to indoctrinate heretics....don't do it. It has been oficially condemned in the Early Church. **

9 comments:

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I always wonderd why the water explination didn't add up (but then again it's water, and there's complicated explinations, which I don't want to think about at this hour). The book that I was given to use for Confirmation was heretcal, so I got rid of it. It's entries like this that affirm things in the right direction.

Melody said...

Of course it is awful that some people have been baptised with an invalid formula because apparently a few priests took it upon themselves to remodel Baptism to conform to their idea of what is PC. But let us not forget that our salvation is from Jesus Christ. If someone believed themselves to be validly baptised, and in good faith received the other sacraments, they would have received Baptism of desire. And if we have faith that God is our Father, who would not give us a stone if we asked for bread, or a snake if we asked for a fish; then we need to believe that He has the power to remedy human deficiencies. By all means, someone who found out that their Baptism was by an improper formula should be conditionally re-baptised as soon as possible. But to be afraid that God would deny someone the fullness of salvation based on something which was totally out of their control, is to not fully give God His due.

adoro said...

Melody ~ Actually, we discussed this in depth in class this weekend, and it is extremely complicated. But the reality is this: those who were "baptized" with that formula were invalidly baptized. Period. It renders all other sacraments invalid. Worst case scenarios: Marriage and Holy Orders. Consider that priests would not be validly ordained...just follow that thought and be as horrified as necessary.

A re-baptism isn't conditional; it's necessary. IF the person dies before that happens, then they'd have a "baptism of desire" however that's the part that gets complicated and limbo makes an appearance into the discussion.

This is our faith, this is what has been revealed. I wasn't just musing in this post; what I stated is real consequences for that invalid formula.

We can't brush it off and say, "Well, that priest who was invalidly ordained because he was invalidly baptized isn't a big deal...he didn't know that he was invalidly baptized..."

Uh...tell that to everyone who's been attending his Mass as he wouldn't have the authority to consecrate the bread and wine!

Melody said...

Adoro, yes, it is complicated; and of course your teachers are correct. But I can't help feeling that sometimes people miss the forest for all the theological trees, so to speak.

adoro said...

Certainly, but those "theological trees" are pretty darn important, especially when they are telling us that without a valid baptism we'd enter heaven, at best, with a veil separating us and God, not as members of the Church. That's a huge deal to me.

And certaily Christ can work outside of the external signs of the sacrament with a soul that is zealously and desperately seeking that union, outside of not having the sacrament through no fault of his or her own. But...we can't just arbitrarily decide what God will or won't do; we must operate with caution and follow what the Church teaches us in order to have the greatest benefit for our salvation and union with God.

Speaking of salvation..I'm off to Confession!

Anonymous said...

Adoro, while you are absolutely correct...we must find balance between love and "fear". I just finished reading the free e version of St. Therese the little flower's The story of a soul. She emphasizes love and trust-- so does Sr Faustina? with the Divine Mercy chaplet. These are saints-recognized by the Church their message encouraged. To "love" God based on the fear of god is the lowest level and only the beginning of faith.
We are called to look to God as Father like little children.
God is banging this point home with me right now. I have an almost 1 yr old.
No, we can't presume wht God will or won't do, but we can trust that He continually seeks us and He honors every step towards Him. As long as we keep trying..He will keep leading. We can't even want Him without His help!

Samantha

adoro said...

Samantha ~ Yes, true, but maybe what I'm really getting at is found in the SECOND HALF of the post, which no one has commented upon at all.

I took a teaching of the Church and applied it to myself in a "what if" scenario, and the idea horrified me. So perhaps I spoke in hyperbole...but read the second half for the main point.

If I would be so desperate for the sacraments....now...what of MORTAL SIN? It has the SAME EFFECT...no...WORSE...if we commit mortal sin! Why would we not have the same desperation to receive the Sacraments, to be restored, as if we were baptized improperly?

And the fact that people don't seem to see the problem with the invalid baptism, and the confession lines are not very long...well, I see that there is a LOT of evangelization to do among all Catholics. Because there's a huge loss of the sense of sin in this world, coupled with the realization that they don't understand what Baptism really does, and what the other Sacraments really do. If they did...if we all did...we'd be BEGGING at every church for the grace of the Sacraments. We'd more easily become Saints.

/soapbox

Marcus Aurelius said...

The priest would give you a conditional baptism and you'dbe all set. It wouldn't be the end of the world, or of your soul. We shouldn't get lost and fearful in such details. The anonymous commentor is right.

adoro said...

Marcus ~ Actually, it would not be a "conditional baptism", as that applies in the case where someone MAY or MAY NOT have been properly baptized but it's unable to be verified for whatever reason. In the case of the "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier" alleged baptisms, that is NOT a baptism. A baptism did not take place...thus the person would have to be baptized FOR THE FIRST TIME which is not "conditional", but rather, it is NECESSARY!

And again, read my most recent post; I stated both in the comments here and in the post above that I was speaking in some hyperbole in order to make my point.

If we are not baptized, but have a baptism of desire, if we die, surely God can honor that extraordinary cirvumstance, but we would enter Heaven not as a Catholic, but with a veil separating us and God; I don't want to spend eternity with a veil seperating me and my Creator. Do you?

We SHOULD fear! If we don't...then we don't "get it"!

Thank God I'm paying all these thougsands of dollars for this education...because I wouldn't realize all this otherwise! lol (As one commenter said in antoher post...it's not liek we're being taught this from the pulpit...)