LET’S HAVE A LITTLE TALK, my young friend, just you and I. It is private, yes. But I won’t mind some older folks listening in, if you won’t.
When I was about your age – some 200 years ago! – I could hardly wait to grow up. Probably very much like you, I remember all the things I wanted to be when I grew up – and never did become after all. (Life’s like that, you will find.) The funny thing is, I can’t recall thinking much about what I already was.
And you, my friend? Do you ever think about what you are now? Like me (living back in the days when the world was still flat), you probably have been asked some dozen thousands of times, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” But I’ll bet you a week’s rosaries that no one ever asked you, “What are you right now?” Maybe that’s not as challenging a question as, How many marshmallows can you fit in your mouth? But, believe me, it is worth thinking about.
You see, my friend, when you were baptized, you actually became a child of God, just as much as you are a child of your natural parents – and even more so. By the Sacrament of Baptism, grace entered your soul and gave it new life – something like the way water brings a seed to life. So we say that we have been “spiritually reborn.” And, by this new birth of our souls, we have become adopted children of Almighty God.
Saint Paul tells us so in the Bible, when he says that baptized Christians have received the spirit of adoption of Sons, whereby they cry: Abba (Father). (Rom. 8:15.) In other words, adopted children, we call God our Father because we are His.
Is that just a figure of speech, as they say, or a colorful saying that should not be taken too seriously? No indeed! Saint John the Apostle wrote: Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. (I John 3:1.) There, do you see? We are not only called sons of God – girls included! – but we really are His sons, just as Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Oh, there is a difference, of course. Remember, we are only adopted children of God. We were all born in nature as children of human parents. (Yes, even myself!) So we share our parents’ human nature – which simply means we are human beings.
But Christ was born in eternity the Son of God the Father. That means He shares His Father’s divine nature. And, having the same divine nature, Christ is Divine like His Father. He truly is God. (Don’t worry if this confuses you a little. It is part of what the Church calls the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. None of us can really understand it until we actually see God in heaven. We just believe it by faith for now, and that makes God love us even more.)
So we are sons of God by adoption, and Jesus is His Son by nature. But are adopted children loved any less because they are only adopted? Not at all, dear friend. Saint Paul says Jesus is not ashamed to call them brethren (Heb. 2.2). Even though we are only adopted sons, Jesus Christ, the true and eternal Son of God, calls us His brothers. And, if Jesus loves us as His own brothers, then the Father must also love us as His own sons.
Now, why is this so important? Let me show you. Since Jesus is the Son of God by nature, the Bible says He is the heir of all things. A prince, the son of a king, for example, inherits all the things in his father’s kingdom. In the same way, so does Christ, the Son of God, inherit all things in His Father’s heavenly kingdom.
Knowing how smart you are, my young friend, I’m sure you already knew this. What you probably did not know is that, since you and I are adopted sons of God the Father and brothers of Jesus Christ, the Bible says we are co-heirs with Christ. This means we inherit all things that Jesus possesses in heaven. And I do mean all things.
Including his Divinity? As unbelievable as it may seem, yes, it’s true: As baptized Christians and adopted sons of God, we even inherit His Divinity. Or, to put it plainly, we become gods ourselves!
You are probably saying: “Now I know Brother John must be crazy!” And you may be right about that. But who would doubt the word of God Himself? You see, it was God Who revealed this wonderful truth when He declared: I have said: You are gods and all of you sons of the Most High. (Ps. 81:6.)
But how can this be, you may wonder? Saint Paul explained it when he wrote: You are children of God; by faith in Jesus Christ; for as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ … you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:26.) What does this mean? Well, you probably have heard the term “the Mystical Body of Christ.” It means the Holy Catholic Church. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. And what is the Church? It is you and I and all baptized Christians who are faithful and obedient to all of Christ’s teachings under the guidance of the Holy Father, the Pope. We are members of Christ’s body, of his flesh and of his bones, says Saint Paul (Eph. 5:30).
If we are all one in Christ Jesus, as Saint Paul revealed, if we are members of Christ’s body, the Church, then we actually do share the Divinity of Jesus as gods. Do you see this, my friend?
Saint John said: Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God and it hath not yet appeared to us what we shall be. We know that when he shall appear, we shall be like to him. (I John 3:2.) Putting this in different words, Saint John means we cannot yet see with our eyes that we are like God. Nor do we have God’s miraculous powers in this life. But we shall see our likeness to God when Christ comes to judge us.
Oh, blessed soul! Do you now realize what you truly are? Do you understand now why your body is called the temple of the Holy Ghost? Do you begin to understand how great is your inheritance in heaven?
But, like the Prodigal Son whom Jesus told about, we can so easily lose that divine inheritance. We can lose it just by one mortal sin. For sin is an offense against the obedience we owe to Almighty God our Creator. If we die in mortal sin, we lose all our inheritance from Him. By sin, we become no longer sons but enemies of God who deserve eternal punishment.
My brother in Christ, see how richly your Father has blessed you! Therefore, do not sin.
And let’s talk again sometime.