Kyle Neilson helps us to find ways to awaken Catholics to their baptismal gifts.
The Spiderman movie provides an evocative analogy for Baptism. Most of us know the story: after Peter Parker is bitten by a genetically-modified spider, he discovers he possesses strange new powers: he can shoot webbing from his wrist, his reflexes and eye-sight are uncommonly sharp, he can climb walls, and more.
I was baptized in the Protestant tradition at the age of 18, and experienced its effects in dramatic ways. To offer but one example, prior to my Baptism I habitually treated my exemplary parents very poorly. Within a few weeks following my Baptism, I realized the gravity of my behaviour; I understood the fourth commandment: ‘Honour your father and mother.’ I also experienced a new desire and capacity to love my parents. After a sincere apology, we enjoyed a beautiful reconciliation and started afresh.
At the time, this change in me surprised all of us. Only years later, after becoming a Catholic, did I come to understand that such a change was, in fact, par for the course. Like Peter Parker, I discovered powers given ‘from above.’ The virtue of faith allowed me to grasp the truth about honouring one’s parents, even though I knew about the commandment since childhood. Through charity, I was given a new heart for my mother and father. I possessed an immediate growing desire and power to love them.