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. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5)

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 following is Part 5 in 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. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4)

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.

Journeying Toward God in the Barque of Peter

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The following is Part 4 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.* Come along with me now as we join the disciples of the Lord at this, the darkest time of their lives. Acknowledgments at the end of this post. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) Continue reading

(Update Oct 19 2012, fixed the link to the audio of the workshop and also fixed the broken image link below.) 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.* Acknowledgments at the end of this post. (Part 1) (Part 2) Continue reading

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. (Part 1) Continue reading

(Note: 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, (talks also available in a zip file at the bottom of the workshop page) 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.

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