Grace to you!
Yesterday, we mentioned that sanctifying grace makes us a new creation. Hence, another name for it is deifying grace. It’s one of the most fascinating truths of our faith that God offers us the opportunity of participating in His divine life. We are given that privilege by adoption to become God’s sons and daughters.
It’s an amazing grace that we can call God, Abba (Father). It’s riveting that God graciously blessed us with access to His life and grace.
Consider the first “Advent” (if I could use that phrase), when the people were waiting anxiously for the first coming of the Lord. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Our Lord Jesus Christ, made a precise prophecy to that effect. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:11-12).
We hinted (yesterday) that we receive the sanctifying grace first through baptism, later through other sacraments. The prophecy of John the Baptist was an affirmation of what the Lord Jesus was coming to do. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
John’s baptism was about repentance, not justification. The Baptism that Jesus brings gifts us with a person—the Holy Spirit, the spirit of sanctity, of righteousness. It makes us justified because we receive that grace of justification.
It’s Catholic teaching that “Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:” (CCC, 1992).
Even more, like a herald of good news, sanctifying grace of God infuses in us the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, placing us in the zone of Godliness.
You see that child who has been baptized, whether he or she knows what is going on or not, grace is solidly at work in that baby. Well packed and stored in the child’s soul are all the blessings of righteousness in the heavens.
Sometimes, many of us take the sacraments for granted; especially when we see baptism as a mere right of passage in the sociological sense. It is actually a passage into a New Life. Through it, Christ’s grace of this New Life is actualized.
Saint Paul beautifully describes it: “He [Christ] has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).
For this Day 8 of Advent, as you worship the Lord on this Day of the Lord, be grateful and meditate on the privilege of being a son or a daughter of God? Remember and celebrate the grace of your Baptism.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.