October 12, 2010

The Grace of Baptism and the Jordan River

On our pilgrimage last summer, we went to the Jordan River, a spot north of where John baptized Jesus. While we renewed our baptismal promises, other Christian groups from around the world came for baptisms. It was so beautiful. Christian prayer leads to and flows out of the grace baptism bestows. This is why for Catholics our prayer begins and ends with the sign of the Cross we recieved at baptism. This sign of our faith, this sign of our baptism, reminds us of our promises by which we are bound to the Lord and at the same time, it reminds us of God's promise, the Gift of the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of God dwelling in us as in a temple. This means through our faith and by the action of the Church at baptism, each of us becomes a place where God is known and loved in such a way that he can be given true spiritual worship through our very bodies when we offer them - and everything we do with them - as a sacrifice to God.  This gift animates Christian prayer to make it effective and it transforms Christian life to make it acceptable.