"Not one of the elect and predestined perishes, regardless of his age at death. Never be it said that a man predestined to life would be permitted to end his life without the sacrament of the Mediator. Because, of these men, Our Lord says: ‘This is the will of the Father, that I should lose nothing of what he has given me.’" (St. Augustine...Against Julian 5, 4, opus imperfectum contra Iulianum, 429/30)
"No man attains to eternal life without the sacrament of baptism." (Answers to the Gauls 9)
We Catholics take for granted and thus, hold lightly to the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, which is, infallibly, the entrance, as a door, to all the other Sacraments. Without the Sacrament of Baptism, none of the other Sacraments are even approachable. Without the Sacraments, there is no hope of salvation.
So, why is it....what causes us to take it so lightly? Does familiarity truly breed contempt? I think so, but, it is not the case with Baptism, as it is not so frequently experienced so as to become 'familiar'. So what has caused us not to marvel when we consider this Sacrament? My humble opinion, is that the reason lies in the fact that the liberalism and it's cousin, Modernism has gained such a foothold into the minds and hearts of far too many people who should know better.
It is treated today as an appendage to the Faith, and yet it is so absolutely necessary, that without it, no one can be saved. Jesus, Who will never deceive us, stated, infallibly, in John 3:5, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again of water and the Spirit he cannot see the Kingdom of heaven."
Notice here, that Jesus is not here stating a law.....but simply stating a divinely ordained fact. Laws can be abridged.....facts cannot....they are....well...facts.
Following the reader will find real life anecdotes, which I have added to the list, of actual instances as recorded in the lives of some semi-forgotten Saints. I think they are conveniently marginalized by the liberals because the stories related contradict that which they teach about the Sacrament of Baptism, which is.....it is not needed as much as Jesus says. I refer to the sentimental theory that some have devised to soften the very teachings of Jesus Christ, by interjecting the conjecture that some people are actually saved without the Sacrament, which is substituted by the desire of it, in some cases. Odd it is, that they cannot produce even one saint in heaven who is known to have attained the Beatific Vision by sidestepping the Sacrament. Nor, equally important, can they produce even one infallibly defined dogma establishing their theory of Baptism of desire, despite a great number of defined dogmas that teach the Sacrament is indispensable.
I hope you find these wonderful stories as interesting as I did. They will show how much God is in control of His creation, and that He can give us, whatever we ask, according to His name.....even more. It is a lack of faith for one to doubt, or even worse, to deny that God can grant us what we need, as well as that which He requires of us.
"If a son asks his father for a piece of fish, will he give him a stone? Neither will your heavenly Father hold back any good thing from those who ask."
"Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
These are divine promises. Let us cease being doubting Thomas's, and believe all that God has told us...even if we have been taught differently by mere men. To believe God, in spite of what men say, is the essence of the true saving Faith.
"Without Faith, it is impossible to please God."
Their life had only been providentially preserved by God until they could receive Baptism and hence, be saved.
KING RETURNS FROM THE DEAD TO BE BAPTISED BY ST.PATRICK
In the country of Neyll, a King Echu allowed St. Patrick to receive his beloved daughter Cynnia as a nun, though he bewailed the fact that his royal line would thereby end without issue. The king exacted a promise from Patrick not to insist that he be baptized, yet to promise him the heavenly kingdom. Patrick agreed, and left the matter in the hands of God.
Sometime later King Echu lay dying. He sent a messenger to St. Patrick to tell him he desired Baptism and the heavenly kingdom. To those around him the King gave an order that he not be buried until Patrick came. Patrick, then in the monastery of Saballum, two days' journey away, knew of the situation through the Holy Spirit before the messenger even arrived. He left to go to the King, but arrived to find Echu dead.
St. Patrick revived the King, instructed him, and baptized him. He asked Echu to relate what he had seen of the joys of the just and the pains of the wicked, so that his account could be used for the proving of Patrick's preaching. Echu told of many other-world wonders and of how, in the heavenly country, he had seen the place that Patrick promised him. But the King could not enter in because he was unbaptized.
Then St. Patrick asked Echu if he would rather live longer in this world, or go to the place prepared for him in the heavenly kingdom. The King answered that all the world had was emptiest smoke compared to the celestial joys. Then having received the Eucharist, he fell asleep in the Lord.
The Life and Acts of St. Patrick, translated from the original Latin of Jocelin, Cistercian monk of Furnes of the 12th century, by Edmund L. Swift, Esq., Dublin, 1809.
WOMEN RETURN FROM THE DEAD TO BE BAPTISED BY ST. PATRICK
One day St. Patrick came to a place called Fearta. On the side of the hill two women had been buried. Patrick ordered the earth removed; in the Name of Christ, he raised them up. The two proclaimed that their idols were vain and that Christ was the true God. Along with the women, many bystanders were baptized. As the ancient writer observes, Patrick not only revived these two from a double death (both temporal and eternal death), but by this miracle he gave spiritual resurrection to many other souls.
MAN RETURNS FROM HELL TO BE BAPTISED BY ST.PATRICK
There was a prince in Humestia who was baptized. Later he expressed unbelief about the doctrine of the Resurrection. After St. Patrick quoted various texts from the Scriptures, the prince said that if Patrick would raise his grandfather, by then buried many days, he would believe in that Resurrection which Patrick preached.
Patrick signed the tomb of the grandfather with his staff, had it opened, and prayed. A man of very great height, but not as big as a "giant" who had recently been raised from a huge tomb by Patrick, came forth from the tomb. He described the torments that went on in Hell, and was baptized. He received the Eucharist, and retired again to his former sepulcher and "slept in the Lord." After witnessing this miracle none doubted the truth of the Resurrection.
PRINCESS DUBLINA REVIVED FROM THE DEAD
At this sorrowful time the rumor spread that Patrick of Ardmachia (Armagh), who in the Name of the Unknown God had raised many that were dead, had arrived in the village. The king, Alphimus, promised that he, his nobles, and the whole "city" would be baptized into the new faith if his two children were restored. Patrick, seeing the opportunity for a great gain of souls, raised them both to life.
By the physical resurrection of the prince and princess, the spiritual resurrection of the whole area from the darkness of paganism and idolatry was accomplished. And the temporary resurrection of bodies (that is, until they died again) gave a promise of eternal life in Heaven and of the resurrection of the body on Judgment Day.
After the raising of this royal brother and sister, churches were built and tributes appointed to Patrick as their patron, that is, as the first Archbishop (or Bishop) of Ardmachia. It is reputedly from the revived Princess Dublina that the present great city of Dublin got its name. [ibid.]
An evil man named Machaldus, and his companions, who placed on their heads certain diabolical signs called "Deberth," signifying their devotion to Satan, plotted to mock St. Patrick. They covered one of their group, Garbanus, with a cloak as if he were dead. Garbanus, though in perfect health, was placed on a couch as if laid out in preparation for burial. The men then sent for Patrick, asking him to raise the covered Garbanus from the dead. This was a fatal mistake.
St. Patrick told them it was with deceit, but not with falsehood , that they had declared their companion dead. Disregarding their entreaties, Patrick went on his way, praying for the soul of the derider.
Then, uncovering their friend, the plotters found Garbanus not feigning death, but actually dead! Contrite of heart, they pursued St. Patrick; they obtained pardon and were baptized. At their entreaty, St. Patrick also revived the dead Garbanus.
The same once-evil Machaldus became a great penitent, a bishop eminent in holiness and miracles, and became known as "St. Machaldus."
CHILDREN RETURN FROM THE DEAD ONLY TO BE BAPTISED BY ST. FRANCIS XAVIER
St. Francis Xavier, May, 1546: "Here (Ambon Island of Indonesia) there are altogether seven towns of Christians, all of which I went through and baptized all the newborn infants and the children not yet baptized. A great many of them died soon after their baptism, so that it was clear enough that their life had only been preserved by God until the entrance to eternal life should be opened to them." Coleridge, Henry. The Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier. (1872) p. 375
Fr. De Smet, Dec. 9, 1845: "I have often remarked that many of the children seem to await baptism before winging their flight to heaven, for they die almost immediately after receiving the sacrament." Laveille, Eugene. The Life of Father de Smet, S. J. (1915) p. 93 "… over a hundred children and eleven old people were baptized. Many of the latter [the old people], who were carried on buffalo hides, seemed only to await this grace before going to rest in the bosom of God." Laveille, Eugene. The Life of Father de Smet, S. J. (1915) p. 172The Life of St. Isaac Jogues, p. 92: "The Huron sorcerers...claimed... the Blackrobes caused people to die by pouring water on their heads; practically everyone they baptized died soon after." Talbot, Francis. Saint Among Savages: The Life of Saint Isaac Jogues" Among these people was a little child about one year old....It was happily baptized. God preserved its life only by a miracle, it would seem, so that it might be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and might bless His mercies forever." The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, p. 51Fr. Lalemant wrote: "...it has happened very often, and has been remarked more than a hundred times, that where we were most welcome, where we baptized most people, there it was in fact where they died the most ; and, on the contrary, in the cabins to which we were denied entrance, although they were sometimes sick to extremity, at the end of a few days one saw every person prosperously cured. We shall see in heaven the secret, but ever adorable, judgments of God therein. Meanwhile, it is one of our most usual astonishments and one of our most solid pleasures, to consider, in the midst of all those things, the gracious bounties of God in the case of those whom he wishes for himself; and to see oftener than every day his sacred and efficacious acts of providence, which so arrange matters that it comes about that not one of the elect is lost, though hell and earth oppose." The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, p. 93
St. Columba said: "My sons, today you will see an ancient Pictish chief, who has kept faithfully all his life the precepts of the natural law, arrive in this island ; he comes to be baptised and to die." Immediately after, a boat was seen to approach the shore with a feeble old man seated in the prow, who was recognized as the chief of one of the neighboring tribes. Two of his companions took him up in their arms and brought him before the missionary, to whose words, as repeated by the interpreter, he listened attentively. When the discourse was ended the old man asked to be baptised ; and immediately after breathed his last breath, and was buried in the very spot where he had just been brought to shore.
At a later date, in one of his last missions, when, himself an old man, he travelled along the banks of Loch Ness...he said to the disciples who accompanied him, " Let us make haste and meet the angels who have come down from heaven, and who wait for us beside a Pict who has done well according to the natural law during his whole life to extreme old age : we must baptise him before he dies." Then hastening his steps and outstripping his disciples, as much as was possible at his great age, he reached a retired valley, now called Glen Urquhart, where he found the old man who awaited him. Here there was no longer any need of an interpreter, which makes it probable that Columba in his old age had learned the Pictish dialect. The old Pict heard him preach, was baptised, and with joyful serenity gave up to God the soul which was awaited by those angels whom Columba saw. Montalembert, Charles. Saint Columba: Apostle of Caledonia (1868) p.63-64St. Columba preached and worked miracles among the Picts, and, though he spoke by an interpreter, he made converts. One day on the banks of Loch Ness he cried: Let us make haste to meet the angels, who are come down from heaven and await us beside the death-bed of a Pict, who has kept the natural law, that we may baptize him before he dies." He was then aged himself, but he outstripped his companions, and reached Glen Urquhart, where the old man expected him, heard him, was baptized, and died in peace. And once, preaching in Skye, he cried out, "You will see arrive an aged chief, a Pict, who has kept faithfully the natural law; he will come here to be baptized and to die;" and so it was. New Catholic World (1867) p. 668
Rev. Frederic Baraga..... fifty-six had been "regenerated of water and the Holy Ghost" and become children
of God and members of His holy church. He says: "Among them were some who soon after they had received
the grace of baptism entered eternity, clothed in the white garment of baptismal innocence, with whichthey were immediately admitted to the nuptial-banquet of the Lamb." Life and Labours of Rt. Reverend Frederic Baraga (1900) p. 209
In October, 1847, Father Baraga went from Copper Harbor to Fond du Lac, most probably by boat . The good people of Fond du Lac felt exceedingly happy to again meet their missionary. During his stay there many received the grace of holy Baptism. It was a particular joy to him to have admitted an entire pagan family through the door of Baptism into the fold of the Good Shepherd.He was especially consoled by the conversion of a very old pagan woman who was perhaps ninety years of age. When he arrived at Fond du Lac he heard that this poor old woman was very weak and sick. He went, therefore, to her wigwam in which she was lying quite alone. She had been abandoned by her pagan relatives, who went far into the woods to winter there. She was alone and helpless until at last a Christian family took pity on her, cared for her. nourished her, and kept her fire burning day and night.
It is thus pagan Indians at times acted toward their aged parents or grand parents when the latter became so old and feeble that they could no longer help themselves— they simply abandoned them. Should this happen in an Indian village, there was always some one to take them and care for them until they died. This was generally done by Christian families. Baraga says that it often happened that such poor old creatures were abandoned in the midst of the forest by their own children and grand-children, in which case they would perish miserably from starvation and cold.So, also, this poor old woman had been forsaken, but had now been taken in and cared for by a Christian family: When Baraga learned that she had been long sick, he determined to go and visit her and try to save this poor soul; After having crawled with difficulty into her very small and miserable wigwam, he saluted her. The Christian Indian woman, who had the care of her and who had accompanied the Father, told the poor old creature that the Blackrobe had come to visit her. She could not see the priest, for she was blind, but she stretched out her hands towards him and when he reached his hand she seized it with both her hands and exclaimed: "Nosse, nosse, jawenimishin!" "My father, my father, have pity on me!" Baraga compassionated her abandoned condition and then spoke to her about religion, trying to make her understand how happy she would be in the other world, if she would but receive and believe the word of the Great Spirit and receive holy Baptism. He explained to her the principal doctrines of our holy religion and asked her from time to time whether she understood and believed what he told her. As he was satisfied from her answers that she was well disposed he intended to baptize her immediately. But then again, believing there was no immediate danger he thought it might perhaps be better to come back the next day and instruct her a little more, before administering Baptism. On leaving the wigwam, however, his first thought came again, namely, to baptize her immediately, which he did. When he came home it was late. He felt very happy and satisfied that he had baptized the poor old creature. Early the next morning the head of the Christian family, that had taken care of her, came to tell Baraga that during the night the good old woman had quietly "fallen asleep in the Lord." Only a Christian heart can imagine the unspeakable joy, which the pious missionary felt at this news. He thanked God most fervently for having inspired him with the thought not to postpone holy Baptism till next day, as he had first intended. It was a mysterious disposition of eternal love, whose weak instrument he considered himself to be, which wanted to take directly this poor soul to the eternal joys of heaven. "Parcet pauperi et inopi et animas pauperum salvas faciet." "He shall spare the poor and needy and He shall save the souls of the poor." (Ps. 71, v. 13). He also had the great joy of admitting to their first Holy Communion thirteen poor Indians, whom he had diligently prepared for that holy Sacrament. Ibid, pp. 235-6
Dear reader...please consider the great importance of the sacrament of Baptism. Not only did Jesus tell us in precise terms how indispensable it is, but He continued throughout history to give us living proofs of saints raising people from the dead exactly for the reason so that they could be baptized, and go to heaven. Have we not receive His promise, that He will, indeed, supply our every need? So why cast doubt upon Jesus.....He called the universe into existence simply with His thought.....what's so hard for Him to make sure each of His elect receive that which He said was required to go to heaven?
In common parlance...."it's not rocket science."
"Without Faith....it is...impossible to please God." So, doubting God's ability to produce the waters for the Sacrament, when one asks....does not, cannot, please God.-Bob Semrod