The sacrament of Baptism is the beginning of life—supernatural life.

Because of original sin, we come into the world with a soul which is supernaturally dead. We come into the world with only the natural endowments of human nature. The supernatural life which is the result of God’s personal and intimate indwelling, is absent from the soul.

Original sin is not, in the strict sense, a “blot” upon the soul. Indeed, original sin is not a “something” at all. It is the absence of something that should be there. It is a darkness where there ought to be light.

Jesus instituted the sacrament of Baptism to apply to each individual soul the atonement which He made on the Cross for original sin.

Jesus will not force His gift upon us, the gift of supernatural life for which He paid. He holds the gift out to us hopefully, but each of us must freely accept it.

We make that acceptance by receiving the sacrament of Baptism.

When the sacrament of Baptism is administered, the spiritual vacuum which we call original sin disappears as God becomes present in the soul, and the soul is caught up into that sharing of God’s own life which we call sanctifying grace.

Children of God

The sacrament of Baptism not only gives us sanctifying grace: it also makes us adopted children of God and heirs of heaven.

We say “adopted” children because God the Father has only one begotten Son—Jesus Christ. He is God’s only Son through generation; the rest of us become God’s children by adoption.

As children of God, we receive our inheritance at the very moment of our adoption, at the very moment of Baptism. Our inheritance is eternal union with God, and we have that inheritance now, once we are baptized.

Nobody can take this inheritance away. Not even God, who has bound Himself by irrevocable promise never to take back what He has given. We ourselves can renounce our rights—as we will do if we commit mortal sin—but no one else can deprive us of our heritage.

The point to be emphasized, and never to be forgotten, is that we are potentially in heaven the moment we are baptized.

Original sin obliterated by grace

The point needs to be emphasized because many people remember the effects of Baptism only in negative terms: “It takes away original sin.”

Baptism does take away original sin, of course. Also, in the case of an adult, it takes away all mortal and venial sins & the punishment due for them, if the person baptized is truly sorry for them. Baptism makes a clean sweep of everything.

But the “taking away” is not a negative removal, like the emptying of a trash can by the garbage collector. Sin and its consequences disappear when God comes into the soul, just as darkness disappears when the light is turned on.

Sin is a spiritual emptiness which is obliterated by the coming of grace.


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