• The next Moms’ Prayer Group Meeting is tomorrow (Sunday, January 12), at 7:00 PM, in the Perpetual Help Room. All moms are welcome!
• Please note that if a student received a D or F on his report card for the first semester, that first semester grade must be remediated by taking the semester over through another educational provider (i.e. online program, etc.) in order to receive credit for it. Because the school is closing on June 1, all make-up work must be done by then; otherwise the school cannot issue credit for it.
• Looking Ahead: The Sacrament of Confirmation will be bestowed on those students who would like to receive it on Monday, April 27, at 5:30 PM, in the abbey church. More information to come.
• Congratulations to our students who made the Second Quarter Honor Roll!
First Honors: Santiago Barreto; Isaiah Cain; Nathan Clark; Joseph Esser; Diego Flores-Casados; Leighton Frater; Liam Frater; Daniel Korman; Justin Ng; Brian Nguyen; Kenneth Nguyen; Kyle Nguyen; Luke Nguyen; Ryan Nguyen; Aidan Oakley; Dominic Oakley; Zachary Oborny; Isaac Osborne; Alexander Pham; Peter Pham; Luke Smith; Zachary Tran; Matthew Walker; Franklin Watkins; John When; Caleb White
Second Honors: William Babbitt; Isaac Domingo; Nicholas Garcia; Patrick Harrington; Stefano Hong; Myunghyun Kim; Lucas Lopez; Anthony Nguyen; Justin Nguyen; Maximilian Nunes; Leo Pearson; Jacob Rems; Joseph Romero; Dillon Tuliau; Amaru Vasquez; Thu Vu
• The next soccer game is: Wednesday, January 15, at 3:00 PM, at Savanna High School [301 N Gilbert St, Anaheim, CA 92801].
• The next basketball game is: Tuesday, January 14, at 2:00 PM, at Ladera Sports Center.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even the very title of this feast might strike us as a bit strange at first glance: “Why did Christ needed to be baptized in the first place? Since He is God, isn’t He already saved?” He is, and as God He did not need to be baptized; but it was at this moment that He instituted the sacrament of Baptism for us who do need it to be saved. And so essential is baptism for salvation, that Christ Himself
underwent it in order to give us an example.
When we are baptized, we become members of Christ and members of His Church, and outside of the Catholic Church there is no salvation. Now, this is a very misunderstood dogma of our Catholic Faith, and since it so important, it is no wonder, then, that the devil does all he can to create confusion around this all-important teaching. For, if devil can get people to think that one can be save outside of the Church, then no one would ever pray and work for the conversion of the unbeliever; if one can be saved outside of the Church, then there is absolutely no point in the sacraments.
The difficulty for many regarding this teaching of our faith is that it seems to them to conflict with the fact that God wills the salvation of all men. It is most certainly true that God desires that all men be saved; and because He desires this, He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and man, to suffer and die for all mankind, and to be the one and only means to salvation. And because Christ knew that He Himself would live in this world of ours for only 33 years or so, He founded a Church—one Church—which would act and teach in His name, which would continue His work of saving souls. This Church is for all men, no distinction being made between race, color, class or age. It spans across all places and for all time. It is universal, which is exactly what the word “Catholic” means. Since this is the one Church founded by God, why should there be need for another? Can man establish a church which would take the place of God’s? The very thought of it is ridiculous. And yet this belief is
widespread, even among Catholics.
And so the two teachings—that God desires the salvation of all, and that there is no salvation outside of the Church—are not contradictory at all, but rather complementary. Christ and His Church are not in opposition to God’s desire to save all; they are not in opposition, but rather they are the means to accomplish this end. To reject the means which God gave us for our salvation is like the patient who declares that he is not going to bother to take the medicine prescribed by the doctor because, after all, if the doctor desires all his patients to be cured, it will happen regardless of what they do. The absurdity is obvious! It does matter what religion one belongs to; the one founded by God leads to God, the others, in themselves, do not.
“But what about all those people who never become Catholic? Are we to believe that they will all be damned?” The question is a good one; and so is the answer. Since God desires all to be saved we can be sure that He also then must offer to everyone His saving grace, at least once in their life. If He didn’t He would not be good and just. And so the question to be asked is, “Did such and such a person respond to this grace—whenever it was given—or did they reject it? And if they rejected it, is it due to their own fault or the fault of another?” Only God knows the answers to those questions; and we should not try to judge the individual. If the person is not guilty for his own ignorance or prejudice to the Faith, it is possible that God would work in the depths of that person’s soul, bringing that person to Christ and His Church in a sort of hidden or, you might say, invisible way—what we call Baptism by desire. But even then, if the person is united in some way to Christ, then they must also be united in some way to His Church, because Christ and His Church are one Mystical Person. You cannot belong to Christ the Head without belonging to His Body the Church. Such a state, we must remember, though salvific, is dangerous, for the given person might be in the state of grace for a time, it will be extremely difficult for them to continue in that state without full and formal membership in the Catholic Church, where one has access to the fullness of Christ’s teachings and the help of the sacraments And yet, if they die in the state of grace, even if it is a grace given by Baptism by desire, they die as a member of the Church, though granted not a full member.
The biggest crime in this confused notion of salvation is that we try to blame God for it all, for making the means to salvation so narrow and limited. “Because,” we say, “what about all those people in other countries who never heard of Christ?” But who’s really to blame? Is it God Who does not permit missionaries to enter communist China? Is it God Who burns down Catholic churches in India? Is it God Who killed thousands of priests, nuns and laity in Mexico, Spain, France, England and Japan? Is it God’s fault that His message of salvation has been silenced? Is it God’s fault or man’s?
And yet even in the midst of this madness; even though man has put up every obstacle to his own salvation, our good and gracious Lord still desires and works for our salvation. He still, in the secret corners of men’s hearts, offers His grace, which, if accepted, will bring one (to some degree at least) to Christ and His Church, even perhaps, without that person always knowing that God is gently moving him to salvation. How great our God is, keeping the doors of His Church, keeping the arms of His only Son, wide open, beckoning us all to enter in!
May the fact that God desires all men to be saved and that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation not make us proud in the practice of our Faith, but rather move us all the more to bring mankind, by our prayers and good works, to the only means which can save it, Baptism into Christ and His one Catholic Church.
• For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
• For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
For the repose of the soul of Mrs. Kathy Fritz, mother of teacher and alumnus Bill Fritz. Kathy died on January 12 and will be missed by many.