The idea in today’s Gospel about the disciples trying to learn Jesus’ message is a very important aspect of our faith. We need to learn about those we love, and as we learn about them our desire should be to learn even more. But the intellectual aspect of our faith is only that, an aspect – not the total. If that were the case we could make ourselves become Christian. Though our constant decision to follow Christ is important (we can always decide to not follow Him) we don’t make ourselves Christian just as we don’t just learn about a faith and become faithful. We are invited by God to become one with Him. We are encouraged by the action of the Holy Spirit to listen to our Creator who asks us to join Him, literally join in Him.
And though I have always realized this – this insight was brought home to me this morning as I was reading an extemporaneous reflection on Matthew 28:19, in regards to baptism, by our Holy Father given in Rome this summer. In it he commented on, among many things, the word ‘in’ in the line “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
He said: ‘The choice of the word “in the name of the Father…” in the original Greek text is very important: the Lord says “eis” and not “en”’. He goes on to say that “en” in Greek is equivalent to us saying I speak in the name of my boss; but the word used, “eis”, has the meaning of an immersion in the name of the Trinity, we are in God, as He is in us – we are one just as in marriage ‘when two people become one flesh, the become a new and unique reality with a new and unique name’ he finishes.
It struck me just how often I cross myself and never really reflect on what I am pronouncing; not only to those around me but, and most importantly, to myself. I am in God. Through my baptism I am totally within the Triune God, I draw my strength from them, I draw my ability to Love from them, I draw my very existence from them. So, how can I not be conscious of this oneness at all times?
Our fallen human nature is the reason, and it is probably the main reason Holy Mother Church has perpetuated acts such as crossing ourselves. But we run the risk of taken the meaning behind the actions for granted. Praise be to God that we have the treasure of teachings and guidance from our Lord; in His words, the Magisterium and of course each of us to awaken our faith in all its richness. Without this treasury we run the very great risk of being told by Christ “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”