How to Live the Joy of Love

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Baptism

Baptism. Copyright Sr. Margaret Kerry. All rights reserved.

While my niece prepared for the Baptism of her first child she asked me, “Why does he need to be baptized? He is perfect!” Her love and faith were seeking an enlightened, thoughtful, presentation of the truth, beauty and goodness intrinsic to this sacrament. The baptized are members of a people on a journey through history. From generation to generation, through rebirth in Baptism, grace is transmitted and the faith is handed on.[1]  It is the greatest act of love. We are progressively transformed by this holy mystery.[2]  Maria’s love for her son reminded me of God’s faithful love in the face of our failure and sin to the point that we participate in the Divine life and are channels of God’s love.[3] The English verb to believe originates from the Anglo-Saxon verb for love. In Latin the verb to believe is credere from the two words cor and dar meaning to give one’s heart. It is evident in the liturgy of baptism that faith and love cannot be separated.[4] The Holy Spirit, who inhabits the baptized person, is called Love (Rm. 5:5).

Family

Family. Copyright Joseph Chrisco. Used with Permission.

As bearers of the gift of God’s love we live as a “sacrament” for humanity (1 Thes. 1:8).[5]  Our vocation is to communicate the beauty of this love that unites us. The certainty of this love compels us to invite everyone to share in this mystery (2 Cor. 5:14).

“If we grasp the beauty of this simple sacrament, then the church will flourish and be strong in offering the good news to our world, which even if it does not know it, hungers for this love.”

Our transformation is continual and ongoing. It is not a destination; it is a culture, the culture of the Paschal mystery in which we learn to live according to our baptism. We are made free by love and for love. Baptism points out the source of this freedom: freed from sin so as to be free before God, we can love with a liberating love.[7] Every act of reconciliation, conversion, and repentance is celebrated as a mini-Baptism.[8]  “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Gal. 5:13). “Love raises us up to dizzying heights and enables us to reach perfection–a perfection so lofty as to be indescribable” (Clement of Alexandria).

Copyright 2016 Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp

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[1] Pope Francis. “General Audience” January 15, 2014

[2] Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei, 42

[3] Fifth General Conference, Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, Aparecida Final Document.

[4] Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio, https://www.crossroadsinitiative.com

[5] Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium.

[6] Timothy Radcliff, Take the Plunge, 289.

[7] Michelina Tenace, Starting Afresh from Baptism, 5.

[8]  Ibid, 6

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About Author

A Daughter of St. Paul for 40 years Sr. Margaret continues to pursue new ways to proclaim the Gospel: sharing the Pauline Charism with the laity, writing books (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross; Prayers for the New Evangelization), & through direct evangelization. She is available for workshops on the Vocation & Mission of the Laity, Media Literacy, and The New Evangelization. [email protected]

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