Many of us don’t think about our baptisms. We only know that we were baptized because others have told us or we have seen photos or perhaps, a certificate. But what happened, besides the ceremony being an occasion for the family to celebrate a new birth?

 The three Synoptic Gospels consider Jesus’ baptism as a significant moment in His life. What is significant about Jesus joining those who wanted to reform their lives by being baptized by John the Baptist?

 Jesus’ Baptism tells us something about our own baptisms. In today’s Gospel, Lk 3:15-16, 21-22, Luke informs us, “when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens opened” (Lk 3:21). The clouds between heaven and earth begin to break, indicating that heaven is opening to earth.

 In choosing a passage from the Letter to Titus (2:11-14; 3:4-7) as the second reading for today, the Church is indicating that this text holds a key to understanding the feast. The passage begins: “For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all” (Ti 2:11).  In choosing this passage for today, the Church is affirming that the grace of our salvation is manifest in the Baptism of Jesus. How?

 St. Thomas Aquinas reflects: “Mercy has always been present in God; yet for some time it was hidden to men … but in Christ the Son of God assuming flesh, ‘the grace of God our Savior has appeared’” (Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Titus, 68). Thomas recalls the first letter to Timothy: “Evidently great is the mystery of godliness that was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16).

 The Church celebrates the feast of the Baptism of the Lord at the close of the Christmas season. What connection is there between two events that happened thirty years apart?

Traditionally, the Baptism of the Lord has been associated with the Epiphany, as “manifestations” of the Incarnate Jesus, first to the wise men, representing the nations, and today in the Father’s declaration, “You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22).

 The “appearances” of grace show that grace is neither expected nor earned, as Thomas affirms: “It should be noted that grace implies mercy, because mercy is of that which is freely granted; and what is freely granted is conferred out of mercy” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Letter of Saint Paul to Titus, 68).

 Among the gifts that God has given us, Thomas describes the birth of Jesus as the greatest gift: “In Christ’s birth this grace appeared in two ways: in the first way, because Christ has been given as God’s greatest gift” (Commentary on Titus, 68).

 Thomas asserts that the conception of Christ was given by the whole Trinity but is especially attributed to the Spirit, the “giver and source of all graces”: “Hence His conception, although it was the work of the entire Trinity, is attributed particularly to the Holy Spirit, who is the giver and source of all graces. ‘And this grace appeared to all men but especially to the man Christ: ‘full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14)” (Commentary on Titus, 68). According to Thomas, Christ, in His humanity, received grace, but much more than others.

 The Letter to Titus asserts that “God appeared … training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright and godly lives in the world” (Ti 2:12).

 Christ’s “appearance” in His birth and eventually in His baptism act as instructions to humanity: “It appeared as an instruction to the human race, because before the coming of Christ, the world languished in ignorance and heresy: ‘the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light’ (Isa 9:2). Hence he says, ‘instructing us, as a father instructs his son’ (Commentary on Titus, 68).

 The grace that God grants though these appearances is the grace of salvation for all people: “This grace is given for our salvation; hence he says, ‘our Savior’ … But this grace is not offered only to the Jewish people alone, as formerly, but to all people’: ’God our Savior who desires all people to be saved’ (1 Tim 2:4)” (Commentary on Titus, 68).

 Thomas explains the “impiety” is sin against piety, which is showing “proper respect towards parents or fatherland.” Piety especially relates to God: “Because God is our principle Father, godliness consists in paying worship to God: ‘Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom’ (Job 28:28)” (Commentary on Titus, 70).

 Thomas affirms that our sins involve the misuse of temporal things, which are “worldly passions,”: “By worldly is meant secular things and all sins committed against our neighbor, or against things by misusing them” (Commentary on Titus, 70).

 Christians are called to live “soberly,” “justly,” and “godly,” as Thomas comments: “He says, ‘live soberly,’ in relation to ourselves; and ‘justly,’ in relation to our neighbor; and ‘godly’ in relation to God. He says, ‘soberly’ with due measure … this limit is observed if a man uses external goods and controls his passions with the limits of reason. Hence, soberness means any moderate use of external things or of one’s passions” (Commentary on Titus, 71).

 Titus is urged to “look for the blessed hope”: “When he says, ‘looking for the blessed hope,’ he instructs him about his end, which consists in two things, namely, in the soul’s glory, after death, and the body’s glory at Christ’s coming” (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 However, Thomas cautions that, in themselves, living soberly, justly and godly lives do bring about our “hope,” as Thomas notes: “He says, ‘looking for the blessed hope,‘ against those who place man’s end in virtuous acts performed in this life. But this is not true because even if we live soberly and justly and godly, we are still awaiting something else … ‘blessed are all those who wait for Him’ (Isa 30:18) (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 Waiting for Christ is the beginning of receiving Him: “The very waiting makes us happy … ‘and coming of the glory of God and our Savior Jesus Christ,’ through whom our bodies will rise. For one who loves a friend looks for him with desire” (Commentary on Titus, 72). Thomas recalls other passages of Scripture: “… not only to me, but to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim 4:8); “Be like men are waiting for their master” (Luke 12:36).

 Jesus’ future coming will be “with glory”: “He says, ‘the coming of the glory,’ because His first coming was in humility: ‘He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death’ (Phil 2:8); ‘Learn from Me, for I am gentle an humble of heart’ (Mt 11:29). But this time He will come in glory because His divinity will be recognized by all: ‘And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory’ (Lk 21:27)” (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 The Letter to Titus speaks of: “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Ti 2:13).  The Jerusalem Bible asserts that this is “A clear statement of the divinity of Christ” (p. 1971, note c).

 Thomas comments: “’great’ because Christ is God over all, blessed forever’ (Rom 9:5).; ‘and we are in Him who is the true Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life’ (1 John 5:20)… He came as Savior, as His name suggests: He will save His people from their sins’ (Mt 1:21)” (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 Thomas calls attention to Jesus’ being called “Christ” (the Greek word for the “anointed one”: “He adds, ‘Christ,’ namely, who was anointed; for in this anointing the union of divinity to human nature is understood … For the godhead was united to Christ” (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 Thomas reflects on why Jesus can be called our “Savior”: “He is our Savior. But how? Because He ‘gave Himself for us’ and ‘walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’ (Eph 5:2)” (Commentary on Titus, 74).

 The Letter to Titus declares that Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for Himself a people of His own who are zealous for good deeds” (Ti 2:14).

 Thomas explains: “Its fruit is deliverance and sanctification. Deliverance, when he says, ‘redeem us from all iniquity; ‘everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin’ (John 8:34) … “fear not, I have redeemed you’ (Isa 43:1). And not only from original sin, but from all the sins which a person adds by his own will” (Commentary on Titus, 75).

 Thomas reflects on the purification that Christ accomplishes: “Sanctification unto good is mentioned … ‘and He might cleanse for Himself a people, i.e. that He might sanctify the people in such a way that they become His people, i.e. consecrated to Him: ‘Once you were no people but now you are God’s people’ (1 Pt 2:10). ‘Acceptable’ to God by reason of their right faith and intention …’the Lord, our God, has chosen us to be His own special people’ (Deut 7:6)” (Commentary on Titus, 76).

 Thomas points out the appropriateness of our doing good works: “But it is proper that they perform good works outwardly; hence he says, ‘in pursuit of good works’: ‘do what is good, and you will receive His approval’ (Rom 13:3); ‘Let us not grow weary in doing good’ (Gal 6:9)” (Commentary on Titus, 76).

 The Letter to Titus announces: “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us” (Ti 3:4).

 Thomas reflects: “The cause of our salvation is God’s love: ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ’ (Eph 2:4)” (Commentary on Titus, 88).

 The Latin text of this passage spoke of God’s “benignity” benignitas and “humanity” humanitas. Thomas reflects: “The inward intensity of charity is designated by ‘benignity’ which is from bonus, which means ‘good’ and ignis, which means ‘fire.” Fire signifies love: ‘love is strong as death, its flashes are flashes of fire’ (Song 8:6). Therefore benignity is an internal love, which expresses itself outwardly in good works. Now this love was present in God from all eternity, because His love is the cause of all things: ‘He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love’ (Joel 2:13)” (Commentary on Titus, 88).

 Thomas recognizes that, at times, God’s love may not seem to be present, as Isaiah asked: “But this love is not always visible: ‘Where are Your zeal and Your might? The yearning of Your heart and your compassion are withheld from me’ (Isa. 63:15).

 Thomas clarifies: “But its effect appears; and this is designated when he says, ‘humanity,’ which can be understood in two ways: in one as signifying the human nature. As if to say: ‘the benignity and humanity of God our Savior appeared’ when God was made man out of benignity: ‘being born in the likeness of men’ (Phil 2:7). (Commentary on Titus, 88).

 Another interpretation of God’s “humanity” may be His compassion: “Or, to signify the strength which consists in publicly coming to the aid of others in their weakness. Hence it is a human thing to condescend …God condescended to our weakness … and this of ‘God our Savior’ is because ‘the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord’ (Ps 37:39)” (Commentary on Titus, 88).

 Thomas insists that we are not saved because of our merits: “The supposed reason is that we are saved because of our own merits … But the true reason is God’s mercy alone; hence he says ‘according to His mercy’; ‘the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases’ (Lam 3:22); ‘His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation’ (Lk 1:50)” (Commentary on Titus, 89).

 Titus is told: “He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit” (Ti 3:5).

 Thomas recalls the words of the Letter to the Ephesians, regarding the washing in baptism: “He says, ‘by the washing,’ that is, we are saved by a spiritual washing: ‘having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word of life’ (Eph 5:26)” (Commentary on Titus, 91).

 Thomas explains how we are regenerated and renewed: “As to its effects, he adds, ‘of regeneration and renovation.’ To understand this it should be noted that man lacked two things in the state of perdition, and both were restored by Christ, namely, participation in the divine nature, and the laying aside of his oldness. For he had been separated from God: ‘your iniquities made a separation between you and your God,  and your sins have hid His face from you so that He does not hear’ (Is 59:2). And he had grown old: ‘you are growing old in a foreign country’ (Bar 3:11)” (Commentary on Titus, 92).

 In Baptism, we become sharers in God’s nature: “But the first, namely, participation in the divine nature, we attain through Christ: ‘that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Pet 1:4). This new nature, however, is acquired only by a rebirth, regeneration. Yet this nature is given in such a way as to become ours, and thus it is superadded for we participate in the divine nature without ceasing to be men: ‘you must be born anew’ (Jn 3:7); ‘of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth (Jas 1:18). Through Christ he has also put off the oldness of sin and received in return an integral nature; and this is called renovation; ‘be renewed in the spirit of your minds’ (Eph 4:23)” (Commentary on Titus, 92).

 Thomas explains how God cleanses the heart: “But what power can cause the heart to be cleansed? The power that comes from the holy and undivided Trinity: ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Mt 28:19). Hence at Christ’s baptism were present the Father in the voice, the Son in the flesh, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. Hence, he says, of the Holy Spirit, that is, which the Holy Spirit accomplishes: ‘You send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created: and You shall renew the face of the earth (Ps 104:30)” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 The Spirit regenerates us: “And there is a regeneration through the Spirit. ‘And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father (Gal 4:6); ‘for you have not received the spirit of slavery again in fear: But you have received the Spirit of adoption of sons, in whom we cry:  Abba, Father (Rom 8:15)” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 The Letter to Titus states that the Spirit is “poured out”: “… in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savor” (Ti 3:5-6).

 Thomas comments on the giving out of the Spirit: “But God the Father gives this Spirit, whom He has poured forth upon us abundantly,’ that he may describe an abundance of grace in baptism; hence there comes about the full remission of sins. ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh’ (Joel 3:1) … And on account of different gifts of grace. ‘Who gives to all men abundantly and does not upbraid’ (Jas 1:3)” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 Thomas understands that the Son in His divinity is involved in the giving of the Spirit: “This, too, is given ‘through Jesus Christ: ‘The Paraclete … I will send Him to you’ (Jn 16:7). For in Christ we find two natures, and it pertains to both that Christ gives the Holy Spirit” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 The giving of the Spirit relates to Jesus’ divinity: “It pertains to the divine nature, which is the Word from which, as also from the Father, the Spirit proceeds as love. Now love in us proceeds from a conception of the heart, which conception is the word” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 The Spirit also comes through the humanity of Jesus: “It pertains to human nature, because Christ receives the Spirit’s highest fullness in such a way that from Him it streams forth unto others: ‘full of grace and truth’ (Jn 1:14). And a little after that: ‘And of His fullness we have all received, grace unto grace’ (Jn 1:16; ‘for it is not by measure that God gives the Spirit: the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand’ (Jn 3:34). And therefore baptism and the other sacraments have no efficacy except by virtue of the humanity and passion of Christ” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 The Letter to Titus proclaims: “… that we might be justified by His grace and becomes heirs in hope of eternal life” (Ti 3:7).

 Thomas reflects: “Then when he says, ‘that, being justified by His grace,’ he puts own the goal of our salvation, which is the participation of eternal life … ’justified’ is the same as that which he previously called ‘regeneration’ (Commentary on Titus, 94).

 Thomas explains on the process of regeneration: “In the regeneration of the unbelieveing there are two endpoints, namely, that from which, which is remission of guilt, and this is renewal; and that towards which, which is the infusion of grace, and this pertains to regeneration. Therefore, he said, thus ‘the Word was made flesh,’ that being justified, that is, ‘renewed by grace, because justification does not come about without grace” (Commentary on Titus, 94).

 Thomas relates our being loved by God results in our love for God: “Could God remit sin without infusing grace? … If he is loved by God, he should love in return, and if he loves, it is because he has received grace, because he cannot love without grace” (Commentary on Titus, 95).

 The hope for eternal life is already alive in us: “He is an heir of life everlasting … And how heirs? ‘According to hope,’ because the hope for this life is already in us: ‘let us rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God’ (Rom 5:2)” (Commentary on Titus, 95).

 “It should be noted that grace implies mercy, because mercy is of that which is freely granted; and what is freely granted is conferred out of mercy” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Letter of Saint Paul to Titus, 68).

“Mercy has always been present in God; yet for some time it was hidden to men … but in Christ the Son of God assuming flesh, ‘the grace of God our Savior has appeared’; ‘Evidently great is the mystery of godliness that was manifested in the flesh’ (1 Tim 3:16)” (Commentary on Titus, 68).

 “This grace is given for our salvation; hence he says, ‘our Savior’ … But this grace is not offered only to the Jewish people alone, as formerly, but to all people’: ’God our Savior who desires all people to be saved’ (1 Tim 2:4)” (Commentary on Titus, 68).

 “In Christ’s birth this grace appeared in two ways: in the first way, because Christ has been given as God’s greatest gift. Hence His conception, although it was the work of the entire Trinity, is attributed particularly to the Holy Spirit, who is the giver and source of all graces. And this grace appeared to all men but especially to the man Christ: ‘full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14)” (Commentary on Titus, 68).

 “Second, it appeared as an instruction to the human race, because before the coming of Christ, the world languished in ignorance and heresy: ‘the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light’ (Isa 9:2). Hence he says, ‘instructing us, as a father instructs his son’ (Commentary on Titus, 68).

 “Notice that he says, ungodliness and worldly desires, because all sins are involved either with matters directly against God, and are therefore sins of ungodliness: for godliness or piety is a virtue that inclines us to show proper respect towards parents or fatherland. But because God is our principle Father, godliness consists in paying worship to God: ‘Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom’ (Job 28:28)” (Commentary on Titus, 70).

 “Or sins consist in misusing temporal things, and these sins are worldly desires… By worldly is meant secular things and all sins committed against our neighbor, or against things by misusing them” (Commentary on Titus, 70).

 “He says, ‘live soberly,’ in relation to ourselves; and ‘justly,’ in relation to our neighbor; and ‘godly’ in relation to God. He says, ‘soberly’ with due measure … this limit is observed if a man uses external goods and controls his passions with the limits of reason. Hence, soberness means any moderate use of external things or of one’s passions” ” (Commentary on Titus, 71).

 “When he says, ‘looking for the blessed hope,’ he instructs him about his end, which consists in two things, namely, in the soul’s glory, after death, and the body’s glory at Christ’s coming” ” (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 “He says, ‘looking for the blessed hope, against those who place man’s end in virtuous acts performed in this life. But this is not true because even if we live soberly and justly and godly, we are still awaiting something else  … ‘blessed are all those who wait for Him’ (Isa 30:18) (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 “The very waiting makes us happy … ‘and coming of the glory of God and our Savior Jesus Christ,’ through whom our bodies will rise. For one who loves a friend looks for him with desire: ‘not only to me, but to all who have loved His appearing’ (2 Tim 4:8).; ‘be like men are waiting for their master’ (Luke 12:36) (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 “He says, ‘the coming of the glory,’ because His first coming was in humility: ‘He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death’ (Phil 2:8); ‘Learn from Me, for I am gentle an humble of heart’ (Mt 11:29). But tis time He will come in glory because His divinity will be recognized by all: ‘And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory’ (Lk 21:27)” (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 “’great’ because Christ is God over all, blessed forever’ (Rom 9:5).; ‘and we are in Him who is the true Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life’ (1 John 5:20)… He came as Savior, as His name suggests: He will save His people from their sins’ (Mt 1:21).

He adds, ‘Christ, namely, who was anointed; for in this anointing the union of divinity to human nature is understood … For the godhead was united to Christ” (Commentary on Titus, 72).

 “He is our Savior. But how? Because He ‘gave Himself for us’ and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’ (Eph 5:2)” (Commentary on Titus, 74).

 “Its fruit is deliverance and sanctification. Deliverance, when he says, ‘redeem us from all iniquity; ‘everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin’ (John 8:34) … “fear not, I have redeemed you’ (Isa 43:1). And not only from original sin, but from all the sins which a person adds by his own will” (Commentary on Titus, 75).

 “Sanctifiction unto good is mentioned … ‘and He might cleanse for Himself a people, i.e. that He might sanctify the people in such a way that they become His people, i.e. consecrated to Him: ‘Once you were no people but now you are God’s people’ (1 Pt 2:10). ‘Acceptable’ to God by reason of their right faith and intenion …’the Lord, our God, has chosen us to be His own special people’ (Deut 7:6). But it is proper that they perform good works outwardly; hence he says, ‘in pursuit of good works’: ‘do what is good, and you will receive His approval’ (Rom 13:3); ‘Let us not grow weary in doing good’ (Gal 6:9)” (Commentary on Titus, 76).

 “The cause of our salvation is God’s love: ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ’ (Eph 2:4)” (Commentary on Titus, 88).

 “The inward intensity of charity is designated by ‘benignity’ which is from bonus, which means ‘good’ and ignis, which means ‘fire.” Fire signifies love: ‘love is strong as death, its flashes are flashes of fire’ (Song 8:6). Therefore benignity is an internal love, which expresses itself outwardly in good works. Now this love was present in God from all eternity, because His love is the cause of all things: ‘He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love’ (Joel 2:13)” (Commentary on Titus, 88).

 “But this love is not always visible: ‘where are Your zeal and Your might? The yearning of Your heart and your compassion are withheld from me’ (Isa. 63:15). But its effect appears; and this is designated when he says, ‘humanity,’ which can be understood in two ways: in one as signifying the human nature. As if to say: ‘the benignity and humanity of god our Savior appeared’ when God was made man out of benignity: ‘eing born in the likeness of men’ (Phil 2:7). Or, to signify the strength which consists in publicly coming to the aid of others in their weakness. Hence it is a human thing to condescend …God condescended to our weakness … and this of ‘God our Savior’ is because ‘the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord’ (Ps 37:39)” (Commentary on Titus, 88).

 “The supposed reason is that we are saved because of our own merits … But the true reason is God’s mercy alone; hence he says ‘according to His mercy’; ‘the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases (Lam 3:22); His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation (Lk 1:50)” (Commentary on Titus, 89).

 “He says, ‘by the washing,’ that is, we are saved by a spiritual washing: ‘having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word of life’ (Eph 5:26)” (Commentary on Titus, 91).

 “As to its effects, he adds, ‘of regeneration and renovation.’ To understand this it should be noted that man lacked two things in the state of perdition, and both were restored by Christ, namely, participation in the divine nature, and the laying aside of his oldness. For he had been separated from God: ‘your iniquities made a separation between you and Your God,  and your sins have hid His face from you so that He does not hear’ (Is 59:2). And he had grown old: ‘you are growing old in a foreign country (Bar 3:11)” (Commentary on Titus, 92).

 “But the first, namely, participation in the divine nature, we attain through Christ: ‘that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Pet 1:4). This new nature, however, is acquired only by a rebirth, regeneration. Yet this nature is given in such a way as to become ours, and thus it is superadded for we participate in the divine nature without ceasing to be men: ‘you must be born anew’ (Jn 3:7); ‘of His own will He brought us fort by the word of truth (Jas 1:18). Through Christ he has also put off the oldness of sin and received in return an integral nature; and this is called renovation; ‘be renewed in the spirit of your minds’ (Eph 4:23)” (Commentary on Titus, 92).

 “But what power can cause the heart to be cleansed? The power that comes from the holy and undivided Trinity: ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Mt 28:19). Hence at Christ’s baptism were present the Father in the voice, the Son in the flesh, and th Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. Hence, he says, of the Holy Spirit, that is, which the Holy Spirit accomplishes: ‘You send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created: and You shall renew the face of the earth (Ps 104:30)” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 “And there is a regeneration through the Spirit. ‘And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father (Gal 4:6); ‘for you have not received the spirit of slavery again in fear: But you have received the Spirit of adoption of sons, in whom we cry:  Abba, Father (Rom 8:15)” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 “But God the Father gives this Spirit, whom He has poured forth upon us abundantly,’ that he may describe an abundance of grace in baptism; hence there comes about the full remission of sins. ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh’ (Joel 3:1) … And on account of different gifts of grace. ‘Who gives to all men abundantly and does not upbraid’ (Jas 1:3)” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 “This, too, is given ‘through Jesus Christ: ‘The Paraclete … I will send Him to you’ (Jn 16:7). For in Christ we find two natures, and it pertains to both that Christ gives the Holy Spirit. It pertains to the divine nature, which is the Word from which as also from the Father, the Spirit proceeds as love. Now love in us proceeds from a conception of the heart, which conception is the word. It pertains to human nature, because Christ receives the Spirit’s highest fullness in such a way that from Him it streams forth unto others: ‘full of grace and truth’ (Jn 1:14). And a little after that: ‘And of His fullness we have all received, grace unto grace’ (Jn 1:16; ‘for it is not by measure that God gives the Spirit: the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand’ (Jn 3:34). And therefore baptism and the other sacraments have no efficacy except by virtue of the humanity and passion of Christ” (Commentary on Titus, 93).

 “Then when he says, ‘that, being justified by His grace, he puts own the goal of our salvation, which is the participation of eternal life … ’justified’ is the same as that which he previously called ‘regeneration.’ In the regeneration of the unbelieveing there are two endpoints, namely, that from which, which is remission of guilt, and this is renewal; and that towards which, which is the infusion of grace, and this pertains to regeneration. Therefore, he said, thus ‘the Word was made flesh,’ ‘that being justified, that is, ‘renewed by grace, because justification does not come about without grace”  (Commentary on Titus, 94).

 “Could God remit sin without infusing grace? … If he is loved by God, he should love in return, and if he loves, it is because he has received grace, because he cannot love without grace” (Commentary on Titus, 95).

 “He is an heir of life everlasting … And how heirs? ‘According to hope,’ because the hope for this life is already in us: ‘let us rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God’ (Rom 5:2)” (Commentary on Titus, 95).

 Denis Vincent Wiseman, O.P.

 References to St. Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on the Letter of Saint Paul to Titus are taken from the translation begun by Fr. Fabian R. Larcher, O.P. and edited by J. Mortensen and E. Alarcón. The translation was published in volume 40 of the Latin/English edition of the Works of St. Thomas Aquinas, by the Aquinas Institute for the Study of Sacred Doctrine, Lander, Wyoming, in 2012, pp. 442 – 453.