But this general redemption is not all. Merit is ours. God will apply it to us individually by means of a Sacrament, Baptism. Through it and the infinite merits of the Spotless Lamb, God takes from the soul its sins, gives it supernatural faith, and makes it share His own life.
When the priest, as he pours water upon the head of the future member of the Church, pronounces these liturgical words: ‘I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,’ there at once takes place in the soul of the subject a peerless wonder, a complete transformation, invisible but real, an amazing miracle, which more effectually than in the sudden restoration of a paralyzed limb, restores the soul and makes of it the wondrous image of the Holy Trinity. Original sin is destroyed. Satan loses his rights and flees. God takes possession of His temple, and infuses into the soul the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, communicates to it His own divine life, and the possibility of producing works of merit and acquiring by them a clear right to the inheritance of the saints in light.
And the communication of this supernatural and divine life and of all these benefits makes him who is baptized an entirely new creature, truly divine, a child of God, ‘a partaker of the divine nature,’ says S. Peter.
So that at the hour of baptism and in the state of sanctifying grace the soul resembles God, for God transmits to Him His own life and communicates to him His own nature.
It is when I receive a life similar to that of my parents that I am their image and can say to them: ‘Father, Mother.’
It is when I receive from God a life similar to His that I am His image and that I can say to Him: ‘Father.’ Thus I become the image, the child, the redeemed and sanctified soul, the temple of the Most Holy Trinity.
We can then never too much esteem our Baptism and the sanctifying grace which create us again anew in the divine image and semblance.
(To be continued.)