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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

The Second Promise of Baptism: Enlightenment

Friday, February 17, 2023

by Fr. David M. Knight

View readings for today:

Editor's note: Father Knight had many talents. Unfortunately, computer file management was not one of those talents. Thus, I have so far been unable to locate Fr. Knight's reflections on the daily readings from today until Feb 22 (Ash Wednesday). Consequently, starting today, I will post selections from The Five Promises of Baptism on weekdays. (Full copies of the booklet are available here.) On Sundays, I will post reflections on the Mass readings -- if I can find those files! Pray for me! ~~ Lynne Marie

Are you experiencing "life to the full"? That is what Jesus came to give. And he gave you the beginning of it at Baptism. Are you growing into that life in its fullness?

Jesus said to those who wanted "more" than just a mediocre experi­ence of existence on earth, "Come, follow me!"

He invites us to be his disciples.

It would be a mistake, however, to think that following Jesus makes us disciples. A disciple is a learner, a student. To be disciples we have to be learning from Jesus. To be students we have to be studying.

If we are not learning from Jesus now, if we are not in some way still and significantly "studying" the mystery of his mind and will and heart through reading and reflection, through discussion with others and with Jesus himself in prayer, we are no longer his "students." We are no longer disciples.

The goal of this reflection is not to make you feel guilty! It is to help you believe in, experience, and acknowledge the mystical experience of enlightenment that was promised to you at Baptism.

Why sell our religion short? We are believers in him who said, "I came that they might have life, and have it to the full!" If we don't experience our religion as something exciting-as an experience of interacting in mind-blowing ways with him who said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," then something is wrong.

Most likely, what is wrong is something very simple: we are not really disciples of Jesus Christ. You can't be a disciple, a student, of the Way, the Truth, and the Life without finding your life more exciting.

What was Paul's prayer for the Christians he converted?

I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (See Ephesians 3:16-19)

This is the second promise of our Baptism. We accept it, and live up to our side of the covenant, when we dedicate ourselves to life-long study of the mind and heart of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Jesus said:

"If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Free to love. And to live for love. It's a consequence of being a disciple:

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

This faith and love are the foundation of our hope:

"My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples." (2John 8:31)

Faith, hope, and love are our experience of the life of grace, "life to the full:' This chapter will help you enter more deeply into all three.

At Baptism we ask for "faith:' By "faith" we don't mean just a human choice to believe. For Christians, faith itself is a mystery. The "gift of faith" is the mystery of sharing in God's own act of knowing. It is (along with the gifts of hope and love) one element of sharing in the divine life of God, which is the definition of "grace."

That makes faith a mystical experience.

Faith is not just the adult human action of making up our minds to believe in Jesus and accepting him as our Savior in a personal act of choice. We have to perform this personal act, of course (if we are adult and rational enough to be able to exercise free choice), but that is not what "saves" us. We are saved by "grace;' and grace is an act, a gift, of God. Grace is the "favor" of sharing in the divine life of God, which is a favor only God can give, and nothing we are able to do can bring it about. It is a free gift; something God gives us, something God alone can give us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God - not the result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The life of God is knowing, willing, and loving. By faith we share in his act of knowing. By hope we share by anticipation in his act of willing. By graced love we share in his act of loving. This is the mystery of divine life in us, the mystery of grace.

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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