Baptism, been there, done that, thank you very much

Christ sanctifies the waters of baptism
Christ sanctifies the waters of baptism (St Peter's Basilica)
I have a friend who is Mormon. She sent me copy of the Book of Mormon. I asked her to. I told her I had talked to some nice young men in the park and they wanted me to have a copy but they wanted me to call this 800 number and let the home office mail it to me. Yeah, I said, Uh, no, I’ll get one from my friend. She laughed when I told her all this.

But she didn’t laugh when I told her not to baptize me—or any of my family, living or deceased. Ever. Period. I requested and received baptism when I was twelve years old and a Methodist. That’s the only baptism I need or will ever need, thank you very much. Been there, done that. A valid baptism only needs to be done once. And mine was. As for my family, all my relatives (all the ones I ever knew personally, anyway) were baptized Methodists or Baptists. I could look up their geneaological records and have them baptized (or re-baptized, if “necessary”). If I were Mormon. Continue reading “Baptism, been there, done that, thank you very much”

Religiosity, who needs it?

I guess I’m going to have to start a new category for the blog. The “things I hear people say that blow me away” category. The other day the thing that blew me away was having a Christian tell me that, not only was the Bible just a book written by men, but it is also based on dreams. :O Today I was listening to Catholic radio and I heard a gentleman caller tell the hosts of the show that he doesn’t understand why his wife, who is not Catholic, cannot receive Holy Communion at Mass (which I will address in a separate post), and (it gets worse) now he doesn’t think he needs “religiosity” (or the Church or anything else) based upon the words of the Lord Himself in His conversation with the centurion. Continue reading “Religiosity, who needs it?”

The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, Baptism, Part 2

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Baptism: Part 1, Part 2

This is part of a continuing series of posts on the Mass, salvation and the sacraments. Acknowledgments may be found at the end of this post.

Why do we get baptized or baptize our children? Why do we even need to go to church? I often hear people ask these questions of various believers, some of them teachers of the faith. Rarely do I hear them receive a good answer. Even more rarely do I hear them receive a true answer. I’ve heard people say that we go to church because we need the fellowship of other believers in order to stay faithful on our walk with the Lord. I’ve heard people say that we get baptized to show the Lord that we’re serious and ready to commit our lives to Him. I’ve heard that we Catholics baptize children because of some silly notion that baptism actually does something when anybody can see that it is merely symbolic of a decision made by a person who can reason about such things; so obviously a mere child isn’t capable of benefiting from it, much less, a baby.

Continue reading “The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, Baptism, Part 2”

The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments – Baptism, Part 1

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4. Baptism: Part 1Part 2

Journeying Toward God in the Barque of Peter
Journeying Toward God in the Barque of Peter

The following is part of a continuing series on the Church, salvation and the Sacraments. We’re beginning our exploration of the Sacraments themselves and where better to begin than with Baptism, the Sacrament by which we become members of the Body of Christ.

In the series to follow this one we’ll be looking more closely at the Old Testament background of the Church and the Sacraments, but I want to spend some time reflecting on the Church as the Barque of Peter, carrying the faithful safely across the crashing waves of the world, guiding them on their journey home to the Father. I’ll base these reflections mostly on the sources listed below in the acknowledgements. I offer the drawing below in the hopes that it will help you to visualize what I’m saying and will help me too.

Let’s look first at the entry into the Church, the Sacrament of Initiation par excellence: Baptism.

Continue reading “The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments – Baptism, Part 1”

The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, Part 3

Economy of Salvation, The Annunciation and Incarnation

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

The following is Part 3 in a continuing series which began as a write-up of a talk by Fr. Justin Nolan, FSSP, but instead took on a life of its own and has become some rather broad reflections on salvation history as it leads up to the founding of the Church by Christ, and the Church’s role in salvation. In the next set of posts we’ll go deeper and into more detail.* Notes and credits at the end of this post.

Continue reading “The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, Part 3”

The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, Part 2

Economy of Salvation, The Fall

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

The following is Part 2 in a continuing series which began as a write-up of a talk by a talk by Fr. Justin Nolan, FSSP, but instead took on a life of its own and has become some rather broad reflections on salvation history as it leads up to the founding of the Church by Christ, and the Church’s role in salvation. Soon we’ll go deeper and into more detail.* In this part we are still looking at how mankind got itself into a situation wherein it needed to be saved. Acknowledgments at the end of this post.

Continue reading “The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, Part 2”

The Church as the Body of Christ, with another graphic

Below is an illustration I made tonight of the Church as the Body of Christ and the fact that as members of the Church we unite ourselves with Christ on His cross during the Mass. The image of Christ Crucified overlays the image of the Church building in the shape of a cross, with Christ’s Head in the Sanctuary and with His Body in the nave. He and the tabernacle, the Host, the Priest, the Altar, are all in the Sanctuary. The doorway into the vestibule lies at His Feet. We the congregation form the Body of Christ. The Priest represents Christ for us. Continue reading “The Church as the Body of Christ, with another graphic”

Diagrams for the audio of the Mass workshop, revised set

Update: Oct 19 2012: A long while back I started a series of posts on the Mass (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, so far) and made these graphics to go with that series. I hope to get back to it and delve into the other sacraments, too, at some point. I thought I’d point these out again for anyone who hadn’t seen them before, thinking that someone might perhaps find them somewhat useful in the Year of Faith. I have found them helpful for my own contemplation. Maybe you will, too. One word: that is not a typo in the graphic below where the word is spelled creatio in Latin. So there. For once, it’s not a typo. ;)
Continue reading “Diagrams for the audio of the Mass workshop, revised set”

Diagrams, revised set on the way

I took the day off and didn’t get online all day yesterday. I was thinking about Part 2 of the Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments series and I got an idea of a revision of the diagrams I made for that and for Fr. Nolan’s workshop audio (available from Una Voce’s site in a zip file, updated link Oct 19 2012, link broken again May 22 2019).  I’ll post them as soon as they’re finished. I’ll include zip files for them this time. Oops, can’t upload a zip file here on the free site. Argh! Oh, well.

Related posts: Diagrams for the audio, Workshop Audio, The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments: first in a series.

Diagrams for the audio of the Mass workshop

(Update May 22 2019: Links to the Una Voce audio of the workshop are currently broken, again.) Fr. Nolan drew some diagrams on the whiteboard during his presentation last week. I’ve made some graphics of my own based on his drawings. If you’re reading the series that began in the last post, or if you’re planning on downloading and listening to his talks, you might find these useful. I still have a couple more to go, but I’m posting what I’ve got so far. Just trying to be helpful, don’t you know. We’ll explore this more fully in the other posts, but here are some things to think on the next time you’re preparing for Mass:

At Baptism we enter the Church (both figuratively and literally) and then we are on the way to becoming eligible to receive the other sacraments, as far as we are able. We enter the long boat of the Church, the Barque of Peter, and start out on our journey toward God.

As members of the Body of Christ we participate in His Death and Sacrifice on the Cross and receive the grace (and graces) we need for salvation. As Fr. Nolan said, this is how it works. This is how we are saved. By the action of Christ on the Cross. And by His grace allowing us to participate in His action by allowing us to unite with Him in His sufferings and death. We die to ourselves and offer ourselves along with Him as He offers His sacrifice throughout all time and beyond all time as our Eternal High Priest.

Diagrams, revised set.

The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, first in a series

In the Beginning

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

(Updated again, May 22 2019, currently all links to the Una Voce Northern Alabama site appear to be broken. Updated: Aug 14 2017: Fixed broken image links. Updated links to the workshop audio as of Oct 19 2012.) The following is Part 1 in a continuing series which began as a write-up of a talk by Fr. Justin Nolan, FSSP, but instead took on a life of its own and has become some rather broad reflections on salvation history as it leads up to the founding of the Church by Christ, and the Church’s role in salvation. After we gain a broad overview, we’ll go deeper and into more detail.* Acknowledgments at the end of this post.

Sacraments: Rivers of Grace

Prayer and the sacraments (and the Eucharist, the Mass, among them) are the foundation of the serious Catholic disciple’s way of life. We don’t just go to church or go to Mass on Sunday or even daily. We pray the Mass. We study it, reflect on it, we try to live a life that pre-disposes us to receive Holy Communion worthily, which doesn’t mean that we consider ourselves worthy, far from it.** We learn about the faith to deepen our faith, to give God the worship He deserves to the best of our ability, so that, through our worship and active participation in the sacraments, God can give us, and we can receive, His sanctifying grace necessary for our salvation. As Fr. Nolan says, This is how we are saved. It all comes from God, from Christ Jesus, from whom all grace and graces flow as rivers of grace from His wounded side.

We need to go deeper now to discover the real meaning of the Mass, to explore and understand and develop this life of prayer and study and reception of Christ’s grace in the sacraments. This is the heart of Catholicism, of Christianity. Without this, the rest of it has no meaning whatsoever. So let’s go back to the beginning, to the creation story in Genesis.

Continue reading “The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, first in a series”