My son is having a heck of a time just now. He’s been in hot water for the last two weeks both at school and at home. The consequences keep tightening up and I’m praying extra hard for guidance on helping him with the challenges he is having at the moment… and keeping military academy in the deep recesses of my mind as a fall back…. Just kidding…. Sort of.
Easter Vigil is just a few weeks away and I’m really looking forward to his baptism, first communion and confirmation. I’ve been wondering if some of his challenges are related to a subtle attack of the enemy of God his efforts to disrupt the lives of those drawing closer to the Lord. Perhaps, but if that’s the deal or not, I’m counting on Jesus’ healing to come into my son’s life in a new way with the grace of the sacraments. I’m counting on Jesus to open the boy’s heart and mind to God, I’m counting on Jesus to strengthen him with his supernatural life, the very life blood of God we receive in the Eucharist.
I mentioned this recently to a co-worker, a believer, a woman baptized Catholic, but now a practicing Pentecostal. Her reaction was interesting. She cautioned me to not have my expectations to high, since his “readiness”, as I called it, to be baptized would be ineffectual if he himself weren’t reaching out to God. Her viewpoint was typical of one of the common differences I’ve found between Catholics and Protestants. When I was in a Protestant church the emphasis was always in the human effort to reach out to God. As a Catholic we place utmost importance in God’s efforts to reach out to us, daily offering us manna in the desert of our earthly existence, offering us his body and blood in the Eucharist for our sanctification. I believe it’s an important distinction. The questions is, are we the agents of our salvation, are we saved by our efforts and our invitation to “accept Jesus into our hearts”, or is Jesus’ atonement the agent of our salvation, are we saved by the blood of the sacrificial lamb? Is salvation active or passive or both?
The topic is one for greater minds than my own, and I suspect that it’s been covered by one or another of the Saints, so I will simply rest. Trusting that God loves my misbehaving little son, and that he will use every means possible to bring the little punk home to heaven, and that one of the biggies will be the sanctifying grace of the sacraments of initiation he will receive in just a few short week.
Thank you Jesus for the gift of you. Amen.