Tuesday, July 07, 2009

"Hello, GW students!"

Hello, GW students! I’m Fr. Greg, the new chaplain of the Newman Center. I am psyched to be here to serve you for the next several years, God willing. I served here before as a seminarian from 2004-2005, so it’s great to be back. During my year here, I started a blog site, “GW Catholic Q&A”. I have continued to blog since then, setting up sites in three parishes. My hope is to post here regularly and copy it to the other sites.

This is a forum for you to ask any (appropriate) questions about our Catholic faith or to make comments and insights to which others can respond. Thanks be to God, there has been much activity on our sites the past 4+ years with almost 150,000 hits and tons of questions and comments. I hope you can join in the fun by making a post. Although I would prefer you to leave a comment with your first name on it, you can post anonymously. If you’d rather write me your question or comment, please email me at chaplain@gwcatholic.com ; it will be kept confidential.

Here are two posts from bloggers on one of the sites (St. Andrew’s Q&A). The first is a comment made in response to my post, “Wear Your Sunday Best” (7/30/07). You can check out this and other posts by going into the “Archives” section on the home page of the site. Hope to hear from you; remember,”be not afraid” to post… your question or comment could really help someone else!

1)“Jacqueline” wrote:

“I'm a 19 year old college student and I am heavily into wearing my sunday best for church. The way I see it, God blessed you with nice clothes, so shouldn't you wear them to one of His spectacular events that is the Mass? (I'm a new Catholic so I'm super excited about it all) I also see it this way, church, whether it's a Catholic Mass or a Baptist service, it is a special occasion. God and Jesus and the angels are there, especially (litterally) in the Mass. Yes you are accepted as you are, but think of it this way: your sister is getting married. She loves you no matter what. But would you really wear shorts or jeans and spagetti straps or a t-shirt to that occasion? Out of the question, besides your sister would end you with her glare alone. God wouldn't do that, but doesn't he deserve the respect of your best because He gives you his best? Always? Anyway I think this was a great entry. Sunday best is the only way to go, unless all you have is your cleanest t-shirt and your nicest pair of jeans, the effort is what counts. Wow, that was a lot of words. Thanks for reading this. Have a great day and peace be with you! :0)”

2) “Anonymous” asked:

“Was there salvation before Christ? What happened to all the holy forefathers of our faith who sinned but also did God's will?”

Thanks for the question, Anon. The Church teaches that “Baptism is necessary for salvation” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1257). This is based on what Christ solemnly proclaimed in Jn 3:5, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit”. We understand our Lord to be referring to Baptism because it is in Baptism that one is “born of water and Spirit”. But, the Church teaches that there are three types of Baptism: water, blood, and desire. Baptism by water is most common. Those who are martyred for their faith in Christ receive baptism by blood. Baptism by desire is the one to which your questions refers. How can they be saved if they lived and died before Christ (i.e., without having the opportunity to be born of water and the Spirit)?

They can be saved if they, as you wrote, “did God’s Will”. The Church teaches that a person who “is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved” (CCC, #1260). This baptism by desire can apply to people who lived before Christ as well anyone who has ever lived in ignorance of Jesus Christ and His Call to be baptized by water. Sadly, there are still people today who fall into that category even though the Church continues her great, world-wide mission of evangelization. God will not fault people for what they don’t know; but, He will judge us on how well we lived with what we know. He gave every one of us minds and hearts to know and choose what is good. May all of us choose what is good and do His Will in our lives.


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