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196 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

and women, enlightened by the Spirit’s grace, respond to the Gospel of

Christ” (“Christian Initiation, General Instruction,” in

The Rites of the

Catholic Church

[1976], no. 3).

In Baptism, the Holy Spirit moves us to answer Christ’s call to holi-

ness. In Baptism, we are asked to walk by the light of Christ and to trust

in his wisdom. We are invited to submit our hearts to Christ with ever

deeper love. What is this light, this wisdom, this holiness? Jesus is clear

about the high ideals to which he invites us:

Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mt 5:48)

Be merciful as your Father is merciful. (Lk 6:36)

Love one another as I love you. (Jn 15:12)

The Lord Jesus, our divine teacher and model of all virtue, preached

holiness of life to everyone without exception. Through Baptism, we are

cleansed of all sin, are made partakers of the divine nature, and are truly

sanctified. Our goal now is to hold onto this gracious act of sanctifica-

tion that we have received from Christ. St. Paul lays out a practical plan

for holiness:

Put on, then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt

compassion, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one

another. If one has a grievance against another, as the Lord has

forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on

love, that is, the bond of perfection. (Col 3:12-13)

This is a strong challenge that we cannot meet by human strength

alone. “Accordingly, all Christians in the conditions, duties and circum-

stances of their life and through all these, will sanctify themselves more

and more if they receive all things with faith from the hand of the heav-

enly Father and cooperate with the divine will, thus showing forth in the

temporal service the love with which God has loved the world” (LG, no.

41). The baptized are called to transform the world with the light and

power of the Gospel.

Living out one’s Baptism is a lifelong responsibility. Growing in holi-

ness and discipleship involves a willingness to continue to learn through-

out one’s whole life about the faith and how to live it. It also involves a

willingness to support and encourage others who share the faith and who