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This makes me think… and makes me value my baptism all the more…

As Catholics… we believe that original sin isn’t something committed, it’s something contracted. We recognize that we have received from Adam and Eve a human nature devoid of the divine nature God originally entrusted to them. As such, we don’t so much see original sin as a “thing,” as we do a lack of a “thing” — that “thing” being sanctifying grace. And sanctifying grace isn’t just religious rhetoric for something special. It is the Holy Trinity dwelling within the soul.

What that means for us is that we receive a human nature from the moment of our conception. But because we receive a human nature without a divine nature, we’re spiritually dead from the start. That’s our inheritance from our first parents: spiritual death. We’re physically alive but spiritually dead because God’s life does not dwell in us.

Baptism changes that.

Sometimes we talk about Baptism as “wiping away the stain of original sin.” But that’s a flawed metaphor. It inadvertently suggests that something is there before Baptism that isn’t there afterward — almost as if we could perform a spiritual x-ray of our soul, before and after Baptism, showing first a dirty soul, which is later made shiny and new. But again, it’s not the presence of something before Baptism that’s the problem. It’s the absence, the absence of divine life. 

That divine life is what baptism restores. It gives us back the divine life that Adam and Eve lost. 

Scott Hahn
Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization

Mine is April 10! When was your baptism? The Pope Gives Homework!

Pope Francis asks his audience today if they all know their baptismal day! When our children were growing up we celebrated their baptismal days in a way like birthdays!

My thoughts on baptism — it is one reason why we are soooo blessed! –from an excerpt from my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood:

In the graces of Baptism, God became a father to me. I was born into the family of God, and the love of the Trinity was extended to me by name—Patricia Ann—baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Of course, I was an infant at the time, and still, Baptism was and is a great gift that my parents obtained for me. Baptism secured my dignity as a beloved daughter and brought healing to my life. The graces of Baptism empower me to make Jesus’s words my own. As I said before, when she knows she is beloved, a daughter can trust the father’s love. It is a deep blessing. Whose we are matters.

 In Baptism we meet the fatherhood of God, blessed and dignified as beloved daughters. Unfortunately, it is a gift we can fail to recognize or take for granted. Imagine owning a costly heirloom worth millions, but having no idea of its value because it is locked away in a chest and forgotten. For many of us, that treasure is our Baptism, specifically the knowledge that we are God’s beloved daughters. That knowledge is the key that unlocks many graces.

In Baptism, we are made for holiness. We are brought into the family of God. We are yoked to God, a Blessed Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are daughters of a loving Father who is perfect and transcendent beyond our earthbound impressions. He always knows what’s best for his daughters. If we ponder that, relying on the graces we’ve already received in Baptism, we will begin to reclaim the girl who may be carrying around a lot of angst and rejection where fatherhood is concerned.

Baptized Christians utter the word Father six times in the Nicene Creed. There’s a reason. We are blessed daughters standing before a magnificent, loving, all-knowing Father. Plus, the Creed spells out our belief and relationship with the three-in-one God.

 We are a sister and friend to Jesus Christ, a most sublime, supernatural-yet-approachable brother. In Jesus, we see the invisible Father. The Savior who died for our sins reversed the curse imposed at Eden after the fall. Jesus is the truest friend we will ever have. Read the gospels and see his respect for every woman he has ever met, breaking with the social conventions of his day.

Finally, we are consecrated witnesses to the Spirit. The searcher of hearts, the source of all wisdom, and the giver of life abides in the tabernacle of our soul. By extension we are baptized into the Church, the family of God on earth, together with saints in heaven. This familial relationship with God is the truth of our dignity, our beatitude, and beatitude is supreme blessedness.

Everyone wants to find happiness, right? Blessedness is church-speak for happiness. You are extremely blessed. You belong to God. You were made for truth. You were made for goodness. You were made to know beauty.

You are beautiful. You are loved.

You are unrepeatable, unique, valuable.

You are sacred in God’s eyes.

You are sacred.

You.

You didn’t earn it. It was free. You have a link to God that you didn’t create. It flows from the lavishness of God’s love. Your worth, in his eyes, is priceless. The prophet says that God considers you “the apple of his eye” (Zec 2:8).

Baptism reveals our true dignity as children, beloved of God. That’s our beatitude, our blessedness.   

You can get  signed copies in time for Christmas.

             

Motherhood: On raising saints for heaven — an excerpt from “Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

From my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious:

The maternal mission is also the basis of a particular responsibility. The mother is appointed guardian of life. It is her task to accept it with care, encouraging the human being’s first dialogue with the world, which is carried out precisely in the symbiosis with the mother’s body. It is here that the history of every human being begins . . . with an exclusive and unmistakable plan of life.

-John Paul II, Angelus Message, July 16, 1995, 2-

Understanding my mission as a guardian of life grew in my esteem when I fully understood it as a gift of my maternity on two levels. First, maternity is a universal gift imparted to women with the innate dignity and beauty of their creation. Women are not burdened with child bearing as much as they are gifted with child bearing. Second, it is also a unique gift when sperm and ova meet and a particular human zygote implants into a mother’s womb. The depth of that unique gift immediately comes to the fore whenever I talk to a woman burdened by infertility, or one who laments childlessness due to other reasons. These women, too, possess the gift of maternity, being predisposed to its potentiality in their creation, yet a myriad of circumstances may thwart the biological reality of having a child of their own.

Nothing in my professional resume could have ever prepared me for becoming a mother, except maybe the long hours I sometimes worked. But from the very beginning I had the sense that I was on a mission. Physical mothering is not limited to the prenatal months and the birth and breastfeeding experience. Raising children requires the hands-on work of a mother’s love and physical engagement. It also extends to all the future feeding, raising, and educating of the child. Physical motherhood requires vision and verve, patience and prayer, and a commitment to putting another’s needs ahead of one’s own on a regular, on-going basis until the little ones begin to do more for themselves over time.

Every mother of a family is a physical mother. While some family circumstances may not have led to a mother’s birthing of her children, she is still ordered to motherhood in her blessed design. Mothering is a physical assignment, a tangible and bodacious vocation that honors God and the dignity of the human persons in her care.

Motherhood from the outside might look messy and busy and challenging and complicated, but living it from the inside out brings many rewards––not always immediate, but in the long term through the blessing of Baptism and ongoing life with God. The paradox of parenting that I’ve found is that it is intensely joyous as it breaks your heart, while it completely saves your heart by breaking it open wider still, challenging you to love even more. “It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends(1 Cor 13:7–8).

We’ve already touched on the blessing of Baptism. When we bring our children to the church for baptism, we bring them to Christ. We bring them to receive the grace to initiate a relationship with Christ, and through him, with the Blessed Trinity. Witnessing our children’s Baptism reminds us that parenting is not all about just maintaining their physical needs but seeing to their spiritual needs as well. This means we will have to help our children grow in communion with Christ and with one another.

This is a bodacious mission: to raise saints for heaven. Physical motherhood affords the privilege of training true disciples and future saints. In the best of circumstances, Christian mothers, in partnership with fathers, make their home a holy place, or as Vatican II taught, a domestic church.

Finally, Christian spouses . . . in Matrimony . . . signify and partake of the mystery of that unity and fruitful love which exists between Christ and His Church. . . .

They have their own special gift among the people of God. From . . . wedlock . . . comes the family, in which new citizens . . . are born, who . . . in baptism are made children of God, thus perpetuating the people of God. . . . The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should . . . be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them.

Lumen Gentium, 11-

One thought about the raising of saints: it helps if that is a desire of your own heart to be a saint. Recall your own Baptism, your heavenly destiny. When you accept the blessing of your own Baptism, you’ll find that the raising of the children you have now, or may have in the future, will call you forward and higher in your own faith, and remind you of your own need for grace. As you love and serve more and more, you’ll yearn to provide a better example for them. If your children are already raised when you come into a deeper relationship with Christ, you can become a champion of prayer and a spiritual mother for your adult children and your children’s children.

We can’t give what we don’t have. So the onus is on us as parents to grow in holiness and to foster and integrate a way of life that reflects the values of our faith. For myself, once my responsibilities included raising children, I read more deeply about the teachings of the Church, or at least as much as I was reading the parenting books, and filling the gaps in my knowledge for both.

The ways we parent, in words and deeds, should come from the relationship that we enjoy with Christ. To that end, the basics of conscience formation that we talked about earlier come into play in the lives of our children. So, think of it this way: the better you strengthen your relationship with God and with your spouse, the better you will strengthen the relationships with your children, and the deeper you will form their conscience in knowing God and the law of love.

The above text is taken from Chapter 8, in Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious.