Lay Minister Joseph L’Heureux
If this sounds arrogant consider these next few paragraphs.
“All creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord, but by Him who once subjected it; yet not without hope, because the world itself will be freed from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” [Romans 8:20-21]
There is a misconception in our culture that we are all children of God, not so. Just look at this phrase Jesus said to those who would not accept His Words: “Were God your father, you would love Me, for I came forth from God, and am here, I did not come of My own will; it was He who sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear My Word. The father you spring from is the devil and willingly you carry out his wishes. He brought ‘death’ to man from the beginning…” [John 8:42-44]
“Look what Jesus has accomplished for His children, by your [our] baptism and other sacraments: For the sake of His children [sheep] the shepherd met the death which was threatening them. That he might open the way for His sheep [children] for them to conquer death.” [St. Peter Chrysologus, paraphrased]
“Are you not aware that we, who are baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death? Through baptism into His death we were buried with Him, so that, just as Christ Jesus was raised from the dead by the Glory of God the Father, we too might live a new life. If we have been united with Him through likeness to death, so shall we be through a like resurrection.” [Romans 6:3-5]
“Any who did accept Him [Jesus] He empowered to become children of God.” [John 1:12]
That’s plain enough, isn’t it?
Just as in any adoption agency there is procedure to follow, in His church to become a child of God. It’s called baptism, a sacrament that initiates us as children into the Kingdom of God.
Baptism is only one of four sacraments Jesus has set in place to complete us on our journey in becoming children of God. Without them we are left spiritual babies, in bad need of a diaper change.
Other sacramental aids found in the church are Confirmation, when we receive the Holy Spirit; the Eucharist, Holy Communion, to nourish our spirit; and the Sacrament of Absolution, or confession when we need that diaper change.
Just to name a few. If we are all children on an eternal journey, there are many questions to ask.
Let’s look at Jesus as an example: At the age of 12 Jesus was found in the temples asking questions of the teachers and He was God Incarnate, God made flesh. [Luke 2:41-47]
When should we stop asking questions? Jesus also answered this question for His disciples while calling a child to their midst: “I assure you unless you change and become like children you will not enter the Kingdom of God,” (Matthew 18:3)
Children ask a lot of questions, don’t they!
I’m in my mid-seventies and I am still asking questions. If I hadn’t asked those questions, I would have passed on 30 years ago, and not into the kingdom of God.
Today, I have three people I pose my questions to: one a former Lutheran bishop, now a Catholic priest; another is former Anglican minister, now a Catholic priest, they, too, must have asked a lot of questions. The other is a Catholic priest, an exorcist, who guides people in spiritual warfare. He, too, asks a lot of questions.
Down through history, many great saints asked a lot of questions. St. Augustine, today known as a doctor in the church, was a teacher in Manichean philosophy. He ended up converting and becoming a Catholic priest and bishop in North Africa.
Elizabeth Ann Seton, born in an Episcopalian family in 1774, married and had five children. Through her suffering when her husband died she converted to the Catholic faith and established her first Catholic school in Baltimore, Maryland, then a religious order in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She was raised to the status of saint in 1975. Today, there are homeless shelters named after her, ‘Seton House’.
Jesus, who accomplished everything on our behalf, looks forward to your questions. Come on in to your favourite church and ask those questions, as all children do.
Lay Minister Joseph L’Heureux