We’ve all heard the question, “Have you been saved?” Whether it’s been asked of us, or of someone we know, we’re all familiar with that popular Protestant question, and it is usually followed up with another inquiry: “When?” which, in turn, often leads to one of the parties in the conversation recounting the day that He or she found the Lord.
I am going to alter the question just a bit and ask you, “Have you been called?” Think about it honestly. Has the Lord called you to be His disciple? If so, when? Now, I am going to take this question-and-answer session one step further and answer the question for you!
Each one of us is called to be Christ’s disciple. We were created to know, love and serve Him, and it is only in doing so that we can truly be fulfilled. Therefore, He calls us to Himself, seeking for us to become the people we were created to be, people united to Him. And He calls us from the very beginning. He calls us to be His disciples at the moment of our Baptism.
There, as the water is poured over our heads and the prayers of the Sacrament are prayed, we become a new creation. We are freed from sin, and are given new life in Christ. With the grace of the sacrament, the life of Christ in us, we are able to bear witness to the wonders of the Lord, and we are called to do so.
Baptism is not merely a “step along the journey.” It is not just another thing we do as Christians. Rather, it is the beginning of our new life in Christ. There, we are born anew and sent out in Christ’s service.
The words prescribed for this sacramental celebration make all of this very clear. Notice, the person is baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” and with that, he or she is changed forever, deeply united with the Lord. Then, the baptized is anointed with oil, and those words speak volumes about the mystery of the sacrament. As the minister anoints the baptized with Sacred Chrism, he proclaims: “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and welcomed you into his holy people. He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation. As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as members of his body, sharing everlasting life.” And following that, he touches the mouth and the ears of the baptized, saying, “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith. To the praise and glory of God the Father.”
I know many of us are familiar with all of these words. I challenge you to examine them thoroughly. The words we say as we baptize bear great witness to what is taking place, what God is doing to the baptized person with His grace.
He calls us to Himself. He cleanses us of sin and makes us new creations. And, armed with His grace, He sends us out in service.
May we all take ownership of our baptismal call and live it out as committed disciples of Christ, using the gifts He has given us to proclaim the Good News and invite others to live for Him as well!