On the Dignity of the Christian

First Point - What is a Christian? He is one who has a particular relation with God the Father, whose son he becomes by baptism. What Jesus Christ is by nature, the Christian is by adoption, a son of God the Father. He became, through his spiritual regeneration, what The Word is in the eternal generation. "You have received the Spirit of adoption of sons whereby we cry: Abba (Father). For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God." (Romans 8:15,16) The birth of Jesus Christ, says Saint Augustine, is the model of our rebirth which is brought about by baptism. The one took place in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the other takes place in the womb of the Church. How ungrateful are we then, and how unworthy of the name of Christian, if we live a sinful life!

Second Point - What is a Christian? He is one who has an essential relation with Jesus Christ of whom he is a member. Saint Paul says that all Christians form one body, of which Jesus Christ is the head, whose members they become by baptism. "You are the body of Christ, and members of member." (1 Corinthians 12:27) Our union with Jesus Christ is true, since it is an article of faith; it is an intimate union, since it animates us with the spirit of Christ; it is a most sublime union since the Saviour Himself likens it to His union with the Father. "That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us." (John 17:21) Unless Christ had spoken these words who could believe them to be true? Since we believe them, our conduct should conform to our belief.

Third Point - What is a Christian? He is one who contracts by baptism a particular relation with the Holy Spirit, whose temple he is. "Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." (1 Corinthians 3:16) Thus the same ceremonies are used in baptism as are used in the consecration of temples. The demon is exorcised from the soul of the one about to be made a Christian. The body is consecrated with Holy Oil as a figure of the oil of grace through which the Holy Spirit enters into the soul; and the Holy Spirit Himself takes possession of that soul by the mysterious breath of the minister of baptism. The Holy Spirit is the author of all the supernatural actions which the Christian performs; hence it is that they possess so great a merit. Thus Saint John says: "That which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3) Consequently, with the Holy Ghost.

Strive to live in conformity with the dignity of a Christian.

Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. - 1 John 3:1

Know, O Christian, the excellence of thy dignity. - Saint Leo the Great

- text taken from Meditations for Every Day in a Month, by Father Fran├žois Nepveu