One of the most remarkable and simple catechetical truths, that God dwells within us through our Baptism, is also the most forgotten.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? — 1 Corinthians 3:16
Many people, when speaking about God, speak of him as someone far away. For some, God is a figure in the clouds who listens to our prayers. For others, he is a man-God who died over 2,000 years ago and is still present to us in an exterior way. For still others, God deigns to descend from heaven at special times.
Very few people, it seems, have a sense of God’s presence within them, and even when they do, they seem surprised when its source is mentioned.
One of the most remarkable and simple catechetical truths, that God dwells within us through our Baptism, is also the most forgotten. I am continually surprised by how few Christians explicitly mention Baptism when they discuss their faith. But Baptism is a truth that allows us, and should prompt us, to shout from every rooftop: God dwells within us!
Elizabeth of the Trinity, a soon-to-be Carmelite saint, was a saint of the “divine indwelling” (the phrase used to describe how the Trinity dwells within us). Reflection on the divine indwelling was the crux of her life of sanctification.
She once wrote:
It seems to me that I have found my heaven on earth, because my heaven is you, my God, and you are in my soul. You in me, and I in you – may this be my motto.
Perhaps if we were more aware of this amazing truth, we would be strengthened in our daily efforts to connect with God, remain in his presence, and do good to others.
Here are some ideas to celebrate the truth that God dwells within us:
1. Have a Baptism Day Party: Not just once. Every year. Pope Francis has been urging the faithful to find out the day they were baptized and to celebrate it annually with gusto! One of my sisters in community chooses to celebrate her Baptism day rather than her birthday. We all could do this if we chose, because our Baptism is the day we are truly reborn as children of God.
2. Pray to the Holy Spirit: The presence of God within us if often referred to as the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit,” which is not to say that the entire Trinity does not dwell within us, but Baptism is a particular mission of the third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit was sent to be with us when Jesus ascended into heaven. So, we can remind ourselves of this special presence within us by calling to mind the Holy Spirit in prayer. (The Daughters of St. Paul have a beautiful sung chaplet to the Holy Spirit that is available for free.)
3. Learn More About Baptism: There are many resources online to learn more about Baptism. You can read the relevant sections of the Catechism, watch a video from Bishop Barron, learn why Catholics baptize infants, and much more. There are plenty of resources available to learn more about this essential gift of our faith.
4. Renew Your Baptismal Promises: Most of us were probably baptized as children so we may not remember the words of the baptismal promises. They are a powerful prayer. And renewing this prayer is something we can do monthly, weekly, or even daily. I always get chills when, in response to the question, “Do you reject Satan, the author and prince of sin?” I firmly say, “I do.”
Do you have any more ideas?
Please leave them in the comments.