Tagged: Baptism

Importance of the Sacraments

Protestants confess their sins. However, they don’t go to a priest to do it. We pray to God directly for forgiveness of our sins

So do Catholics. But we also go to the Sacrament of Confession in order that our souls be washed of our sins in this life. That is the benefit of the Sacrament.

Whether you’re Catholic or Protestant, confession is a must.
Very true. Because without repentance, there is no salvation.

Yes, I realize this. I didn’t mean to infer that you would not have gone to Christ in prayer to confess. I should have cleared that up, but thanks for doing so.
What you don’t realize is that they “think” they are confessing to God. But in fact, they are not. They are simply recounting to themselves their own guilt.

One does not need to confess in order for God to know that they are truly repentant. God is omniscient. The benefit of the Sacrament of Confession is in the CONFIRMATION by the Minister of God that God has heard the repentant sinner and washed away their sin.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

This is the doctrine of Baptisms. Every Sacrament is a Baptism.

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
The Protestant who denies the benefit of the Sacrament of confession, has, by his unbelief, condemned himself.

But he that approaches the founts of grace, the Sacraments, including Confession, with sincere belief that God can do through that Sacrament what He promised, that man is saved.

How do we receive God’s mercy?


How do you understand “not by works” in Eph 2:9 and what does it apply to?

The same way that I do in Titus 3:5.

Titus 3:5 says, “not by works of righteousness we have done“.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

So, Ephesians 2:9 says, in essence:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, lest any man should boast.

In other words, God requires us to do works of righteousness. But that isn’t what saves us. What does?

Titus 3:5 says:

but according to his mercy he saved us,

What does that mean? Well, let’s go to the Old Testament:

Exodus 20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

In other words, in order to receive God’s mercy, we must love Him and keep His Commandments.

But the works don’t save us. They are a prerequisite to receive His mercy.

How then, do we receive His mercy?

by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

What’s that? That’s a description of Baptism. In other words, it is in the Sacraments, that those who have done the will of God, receive His mercy. In other words, His grace.

So, how does this relate to Ephesians 2? Let’s look at Ephesians 2:8

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith;

This is a very succinct and apt description of the Sacraments. It is in the Sacraments that God pours out His grace upon those who make a proclamation of faith.

and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

The Holy Ghost is God. Therefore, this gift is the way in which St. Paul describes the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost in this letter. This also ties back to Acts 2:

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

In summary, those who do good works, are saved by God.

Bring forth the Old and the New; concerning Baptism

Those Protestants who claim for themselves salvation are fooling themselves. God alone knows who will be saved.

  • RICHARD UK May 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm
    De Maria
    1. Yes, water is an apt symbol of birth, but that does not mean that WATER BAPTISM actually brings about the new birth of a person, as you write.

    Scripture says that it does. Baptism entails water and in Baptism one’s sins are washed away:
    Acts 22:16
    And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

    I know this is why Spanish conquistadors used to spray large groups of captured slaves with water hoses but these things don’t work ‘ex opera operato’.

    1. Let’s stick to the subject.
    2. The Catholic Church does not teach such a thing. So, if the Spanish were doing such a thing, which I doubt, sounds like another anti-Catholic lie, but if they did, it was their own mistake.

    Faith, not a water hose, is the vehicle of grace.

    That is Catholic Teaching.

    2. I know of no scripture that remotely implies that the good thief was baptised into saving faith by the shedding of his BLOOD.

    1. Then you don’t know Scripture. Because suffering with Christ and dying in defense of His name is what we call “Baptism of Blood”. And the Good Thief did both upon the Cross.

    2. You read Scripture differently than do we. We see the spiritual ramifications of the Word of God. Therefore we read the Scripture as the Scripture teaches it should be read:
    2 Corinthians 3:6
    Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

    It is Jesus’ blood that matters,

    That is why we consume His Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

    and it is effective for those who, by grace, have faith.

    And the Thief on the Cross expressed his faith when he defended Jesus against the blasphemous statements of the other thief. In so doing, the Good Thief was baptized of blood, because he died upon the Cross with Jesus:
    1 Peter 4:1
    Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

    Could anyone imitate Christ more perfectly than the Thief who died with arms spread upon the cross side by side with Jesus?
    Romans 8:17
    And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

    3. God’s means of salvation is by faith in His Son, not by membership of the Roman Church.

    Those who have faith in Jesus Christ become members of the Catholic Church:
    Acts 2:47
    Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

    There is no need for the mediating role of the Roman church – the bible states our MEDIATOR is Jesus. That was made clear when the temple veil was torn.

    Whether there is a need or not, the Word of God says that those who are to be saved are added to the Church. Read it again, “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

    4. The ‘church’ in its proper sense is the COMMUNION of the saints (ie of believers),

    That is one sense of the word, “church”. But it is not the only sense.

    its composition invisible to all but God.

    1. That is why God knows who is saved, but you don’t.
    2. However, the hierarchy of the Church is visible. That is why we can take our brothers to the Church for infallible decisions about the faith. St. Athanasius and St. Augustine did so, several times, when combatting heresies. And it still goes on today. It is the visible Church which judges infallibly in these cases. And that is in accord with Scripture:
    Matthew 18:17
    King James Version (KJV)
    17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

    As Paul writes, ‘Not all (visible) Israel is Israel’.

    Precisely. Therefore, not all Christians are Christian. Those Protestants who claim for themselves salvation are fooling themselves. God alone knows who will be saved.

    Not all members of the Roman church are necessarily part of Jesus’ bride, and Jesus’ bride includes true believers who are not in the Roman church (otherwise why does the Pope not try to convert the Archbishop of Canterbury?)

    You’re absolutely right. But you are merely digging a hole for yourself. Because you are proving Protestant doctrine false and at the same time proving Catholic Doctrine true.

    1. You have proven that Protestants can’t know who is saved.
    2. I have shown from Scripture that there are visible elements of the Church, the leadership, to whom we take our brethren who err in judgment.
    3. You have shown that the Catholic Church teaches that salvation is judged by God. And that most heretical baptisms are still valid.

    5. I can understand the psychological reassurance provided by an organised body like the Roman church but to go one step further and insist that church sacramental membership is a guaranteed way (if not the only way) to salvation is unwise

    1. The Church does not teach that the Sacraments guarantee one’s salvation.
    2. Salvation is guaranteed only to the righteous.
    3. And God alone knows who is righteous.


    De Maria

Your statement simply shows a lack of faith in Christ

  1. RICHARD UK May 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm
    Jason, you quote
    1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. …The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care … to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
    My reading of Jn 3 v5 AND 6 is that ‘water’ related to the natural birth of man through his mother’s uterine waters.

    Because one is naturally born through the “uterine waters” of their mother, water is an apt symbol of birth. Therefore, in Water Baptism, the water poured on our bodies signifies and brings about the new birth of the Creature by the Spirit.

    What then matters is subsequently being born of the Spirit. ‘Reborn’ is incorrect and very misleading if it implies that water is an agent of rebirth.

    On the contrary, your statement simply shows a lack of faith in Christ. It is akin to Namaan who denied that God could cure him by the action of washing seven times in the waters of the Jordan. We believe that God can cause our new birth through water.

    This antithesis between earth and heaven is continued in v6 with flesh v spirit.
    The first line of 1257 is clearly wrong because Jesus Himself accepted the thief on the cross into His kingdom unbaptised.

    1. Scripture does not say that the Good Thief was not baptized.
    2. Scripture says that everyone in Judea was baptized by St. John.
    Matthew 3:5-7
    King James Version (KJV)
    5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

    3. Jesus and His disciples also baptized many.
    John 3:22-24
    King James Version (KJV)
    22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

    4. In addition, the Catholic Doctrine says that one may be baptized by blood. The Good Thief definitely meets this criteria since he was crucified alongside Jesus.
    5. Catholic Doctrine also says that one must suffer with Christ to be saved. The Good Thief meets this criteria.
    And finally, Catholic Doctrine says that one is saved if God says that one is saved. Jesus is God and Jesus saved the Good Thief, whether he was baptized or not.

    Fortunately the last sentence of 1257 gainsays the first by removing it as an essential step.
    1257 also states “The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism…” Jesus mentions only belief in John 5 v 24.
    Yes, water baptism is important but I am not even sure that the Great Commission must of necessity mean water baptism as opposed to baptising in/into/with the Spirit

    God has set out a normal means of salvation. By the Church. If anyone strikes out on their own to be saved according to their own ideas, they are on their own. But has been very clear that He saves the obedient:

    Hebrews 5:9
    And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

    I hope you will retain any earlier appreciation that creeds and catechisms are fallible.

    Perhaps. But Catholic Doctrine is infallible because the Church is the Pillar of Truth (1 Tim 3:15).

    This came home to me forcibly when I saw that Catholic Teaching had massaged and thereby set out 10 different Commandments from the ones listed in Exodus (and Deuteronomy)

    They are the exact same Commandments. Protestants have changed some things but the Catholic order is the best.


    De Maria

  2. RICHARD UK May 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm
    De Maria
    The 2nd commandment as given on the tablets of stone to Moses is omitted in Catholic Teaching. (I have a good idea why)
    To make up the number, the 10th commandment is split into two

    That is done because we don’t see women as property. You might want to read about the Ten Commandments. It is very interesting why they are enumerated as they are.

Sacred Tradition, milk and honey

On Craig’s blog, THOUGHT ON “MILK, HONEY, BAPTISM, AND THE DEATH OF TRADITION”, I made the following comment:

De Maria said:

  1. Craig said;  If Catholicism and Orthodoxy have preserved “Tradition,” why isn’t there milk and honey used during baptism?

    Because it is the Pope and the Church which holds the keys to the Kingdom. Not individual priests or Bishops.

    Believe it or not, tasting a delicious concoction of milk and honey used to be a very important baptismal tradition.

    I believe it.

    First, why is this a big deal? It is because they claim that a Sola Scriptura view leaves out important traditions and teachings that are not found in the Scripture, but rather in tradition.

    That is correct.

    To prove this viewpoint the will point to quotes from Fathers such as Basil of Caeserea that say something to the following effect:

    Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church, some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the apostles by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force
    If such traditions have the “force” of true religion, why isn’t drinking milk mixed with honey something still required as part of the baptismal rite?

    Let’s talk about something a bit different. Just to make a comparison. God said, in His Word,

    Exodus 20:8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    Those words and that Tradition was set forth by ALLMIGHTY GOD. Right?

    Do Christians still keep the Sabbath? Not in the eyes of the uninitiated. They see us keep the first day, that is, Sunday. Not the Sabbath. However, the word Sabbath has two meanings. One is 7 and is a reference the seventh day, which is Saturday in our calendar. The other is OATH. And we still keep the oath, except we keep it on Sunday Mass as a day of obligation and are free to make the oath on a daily basis in the daily Mass.

    So, why was it transferred, if God commanded us to keep it on Saturday? Because of the authority which Jesus Christ, (aka God) vested in the Catholic Church when He said, “the gates of hell will not prevail against it and I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. What you lock on earth will be locked in heaven. What you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

    Therefore, the day of worship was changed to the first day of the week and you see no objection in the Scripture. In fact, the Scripture only mentions it in passing:

    Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

    Some apologists will say that maybe milk and honey was never quite so serious. However, it was.

    Do you think that the command to keep the Sabbath was serious? or not?

    Ok, now let’s examine what St. Jerome has to say. First, you are essentially like the Luciferians (No, it is not a reference to Satan). You are questioning the authority of the Catholic Church. So this is an excellent document to study. Let’s begin a bit earlier than you did, though.

    8. L. Thirsty men in their dreams eagerly gulp down the water of the stream, and the more they drink the thirstier they are. In the same way you appear to me to have searched everywhere for arguments against the point I raised, and yet to be as far as ever from being satisfied.

    And to me, you appear to be in the same situation as these men.

    Don’t you know that the laying on of hands after baptism and then the invocation of the Holy Spirit is a custom of the Churches?

    You do know that this is a reference to the Sacrament of Confirmation, right? Note how he calls it a custom or what we, today refer to as SacredTradition of the Church.

    Jerome writes Against the Luciferians:

    Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in the Acts of the Apostles.

    I doubt that you would accept that proof today. If you did, you would be Catholic.

    And even if it did not rest on the authority of Scripture the consensus of the whole world in this respect would have the force of a command.

    Now, he refers to the authority of the Tradition which is being practiced by the whole world at that time.

    For many other observances of the Churches, which are due to tradition, have acquired the authority of the written law, as for instance the practice of dipping the head three times in the laver,

    We still do that. Notice that he is not referring to full immersion. The Church has ever practiced pouring, sprinkling and immersion. And it has always been three times. And there is Scripture proof for all three.

    and then, after leaving the water, of tasting mingled milk and honey in representation of infancy; 

    We don’t do that anymore in the West. But it is not forbidden, as far as I know.

    and, again, the practices of standing up in worship on the Lord’s day,

    A reference to Sunday Worship, which before the invention of the “pews” by Protestants, was always standing.

    and ceasing from fasting every Pentecost; 

    You probably understand that to mean that we cease from fasting on the day of Pentecost. But, that is because Protestants celebrate single days, such as Christmas day, Easter Sunday, and perhaps, some, the day of Pentecost.

    But we don’t. We celebrate seasons. The Christmas season is 12 days long. Before that is the season of Advent. After Christmas is the season of Lent, which is forty days and we fast during that time. Then comes Easter and Easter Sunday is the first day of the Easter season which is simultaneously the first day of Pentecost. The day of Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. And we cease to fast during those 50 days. We begin to fast again, afterwards.

    and there are many other unwritten practices which have won their place through reason and custom.

    Yes sir. But, you don’t follow those. Because you make up your own mind how you will worship the Lord. Even though Scripture says:

    Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

    So you see we follow the practice of the Church,

    Notice how he keeps repeating this phrase. Why? Because he recognizes the authority which Jesus Christ vested in the Church.

    although it may be clear that a person was baptized before the Spirit was invoked.

    What is he talking about? He is advising rebaptism of heretics. Do you know that the Catholic Church does not, usually, follow his advice on this matter? If you read the entire document, he is advising to rebaptize heretics. But, for the most part, the Church doesn’t follow and has never followed that advice. Yes, even Doctors of the Church have erred in their advice.

    The Church has always recognized that some heretics have a valid baptism. For instance, today, the Church does not recognize the Baptism of the Mormons. But recognizes all others of which I’m aware, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, etc.

    But that wouldn’t bother St. Jerome. In fact, he may well be aware of that fact but is simply not thinking about it at the time that he is writing this document.

    Over 150 years previous, Tertullian wrote on another continent in De Corona in reference to baptism that “we taste first of all a mixture of milk and honey” and that is
    “sufficiently plain that you can vindicate the keeping of even unwritten tradition established by custom; the proper witness for tradition when demonstrated by long-continued observance.”


    Elsewhere, Hippolytus records the practice in his book “The Apostolic Tradition.” Doesn’t that mean it is Apostolic Tradition to have milk and honey with baptism? Or is he lying?


    Clement of Alexandria is an early, Eastern witness to the practice, just as Chromatius is a later western witness.


    Isn’t it clear that all of these men attest to the practice over centuries and that it was precisely the sort of extra-biblical tradition Basil was talking about. So, this begs the question, why do we not do it anymore when it was so clearly practiced as Apostolic Tradition in both the east and the west?

    Because the Church which the Holy Scriptures describe as the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth (1 Tim 3:15) and the teacher of the Wisdom of God (Eph 3:10) no longer requires it.

    Yet, the tradition died. Christ states that “[h]eaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33). Clearly milk and honey could not be originally his words.

    Lol! That is because you don’t understand the “spiritual” meaning of the words. Now, let’s go back to the example of the Sabbath. Do we continue to hold that God given Tradition, or no? I say, “Yes!” Because we still hold to the day of the OATH. It is mandatory for Catholics to come to the Sunday Mass on pain of mortal sin.

    Do we still drink milk and honey? Yes. Spiritually. Because we enter the land of milk and honey when we are baptized.

    Of course, all of this begs the question: how do we know that another tradition attested to by such a wide witness is actually legitimate? The truth of the matter is, apart from the Scripture (which is defined as “God breathed” in 2 Tim 3:16), no tradition can be held with the same degree of certainty. You heard straight from the horse’s mouth, milk and honey had “the authority of the written law.” Yet now, it doesn’t.

    All law is subject to the authority of the law maker. In this case, God speaking through His Church. But you don’t believe that. But the Scriptures attest to this truth:

    2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

    This is because there is not a single extra-biblical tradition that defines itself as literally breathed out by God. If God Himself did not breath it out, then how do you even know it is actually true with the same degree of certainty? Plain answer: you don’t.

    Now, let’s go through the Scriptures to find more defunct laws. You say you are guided by Scripture alone, right?

    Ok, do you, as a Christian, follow the Kosher laws?

    Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain…. from blood.

    And again, do you, keep the Saturday Sabbath?

    And, do you, require women to cover their heads in church? do you, baptize for the dead? do you consider the commandments mandatory?

    Those requirements are in Scripture. But Protestants no longer hold to them. They don’t have any excuse not to hold them since they claim to hold the authority of Scripture alone. Whereas, we understand that Christ placed His authority in the Church.

Works of righteousness, what are they?

Titus 3:5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

What are these “works of righteousness” to which St. Paul refers?

In my opinion, a work of righteousness can include any good deed which is commanded by God.  That includes the Commandments, the Beautitudes, the virtues, the works of spiritual and corporal mercy, etc. etc.

You see, I tie this verse back to this one:

Exodus 20:6

King James Version (KJV)

 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

But we are not saved by doing the Commandments.  But by His mercy.

Do you see the relationship?  The Commandments of God are the basis of every good work which we can do.

To put it bluntly, we can’t wash our own souls.  God is the only one who can do that.  And God won’t do it for anyone except for those who have kept His Commandments:

Romans 2:13

King James Version (KJV)

 13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

In order to be justified, in order to be saved, we must keep the Commandments of God:

Revelation 22:13-15

King James Version (KJV)

 13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

 14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

 15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Doctrine of Baptisms

How do you explain this teaching?

Hebrews 6:2
King James Version (KJV)
2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

I say that this is a teaching on the Sacraments.

1. There is one Baptism. And that is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
2. There is one Sacrament of Baptism and that is by water and the Holy Spirit. 

And in the Sacrament of Baptism, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is effected by water and the word.

Did you catch that?  In #2, #1 is effected by the sign of water and the word of the Priest.

But every single Sacrament is a bath of sanctifying grace.

Every single Sacrament is a washing the soul by the Spirit of God. 

Therefore, every single Sacrament is, by definition, a baptism of the Holy Spirit.

1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation“Sacramental grace” is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.

In every Sacrament, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is effected by one sign or another.

In Baptism, it is water.
In Confession, it is the Priestly absolution.
In Confirmation, it is the anointing of oil.
In Eucharist, it is the consuming of the Eucharist.
In Anointing of the Sick, it is again the anointing of oil.
In Matrimony, it is the oath of the bride and groom.
And in Ordination it is the laying of hands.

Or do you deny that in the Sacraments, one is washed in the grace of the Holy Spirit?

Merit before Baptism?

Merit before Baptism is not the same thing as merit before justification.

I’ve been having an interesting conversation in Greenbaggins blog, where the folks I’m talking to equate justification and Baptism. They keep saying to me, interchangeably:

Vincent said, #1245 November 9, 2014 at 9:12 am

Faith is a free gift in Catholicism not a meritorous work. The grace of baptism is not merited. That is official catholic teaching.


Eric W said, #1261 November 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm

De Maria (re: 1255),

RC theology teaches…:

2. Grace of justification (grace of baptism)….

Although it is true, that it is Catholic Teaching that we are perfectly justified in Baptism. What these folks seem to have forgotten, is that the Catholic Church teaches that justification is a PROCESS that begins well before Baptism and does not end until we die. Well, at that point its put on hold until the final judgement where we will stand before the King of Kings for our final justification.

So, when the Church says that the grace of justification is not merited, She means that grace which we receive to begin the process of justification at the beginning of conversion is not merited.  Lets go over some of the Catechism regarding this subject:

2008 The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace.

That’s the unmerited grace of the Call to Conversion.

The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.

After that Call, if we turn to God in faith and seek His Face, we begin to merit. This is before Baptism.

2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification,

at the beginning of conversion (see 2008).

Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity,

we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.

Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God’s wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

So, I think that is what is missing. The understanding that justification begins before Baptism and doesn’t ever end.