How does baptism work?

If one is not baptised by either water, blood, or desire does this prevent him from achieving the Beatific Vision. If so what was the purpose of God creating all of those millions of Native Americans (I have Native American Ancestry) who had never heard of the Gospel or Jesus Christ for a good thousand and something years. Why were they created? I know some people theorize that they will go to a Limbo-like place. And I know that God doesnt owe us anything including salvation. But why would he create a good number of people who never heard of the Gospel only for them to go to a place thats lesser than the Beaitifc Vision. A place that they didnt choose to go to. Some Catholics even theorize that those who arent baptized go straight to Hell. Can someone explain to me.

No, not necessarily. Baptism is the ordinary means of receiving sanctifying grace, we cannot know or limit how God chooses to act outside the sacraments,

What people theorize and what the Church teaches are not the same thing. I suggest you read the section on baptism in the Catechism.

Faith in Jesus Christ…in his death and resurrection …and Baptism (such too is how one enters his Church) … yes is the ordinary way that one is saved by Jesus - by his death and resurrection. The way one has true life and is headed towards the fullness of that life in heaven and in the Resurrection.

But that does not mean that necessarily one who has not been baptized or even heard of his name cannot be saved. It is still possible that they saved by Christ in ways known to God (and such would include a kind of baptism of desire…even though they do not know of Christ or of baptism).

From the Compendium of the Catechism (issued by Pope Benedict XVI)
261. Is Baptism necessary for salvation?**


Baptism is necessary for salvation for all those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.

262. Is it possible to be saved without Baptism?


Since Christ died for the salvation of all, those can be saved without Baptism who die for the faith (Baptism of blood). Catechumens and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still (under the impulse of grace) sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can also be saved without Baptism (Baptism of desire). The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God.

Those that are so saved in ways known to God - are still saved by Jesus and in relation to his Church.

The following passage in St. Thomas Aquinas about belief in God (which is also necessary) is not a complete answer to your question, perhaps, but I think it is relevant:

Granted that everyone is bound to believe something explicitly, no untenable conclusion follows even if someone is brought up in the forest or among wild beasts. Thus, if someone so brought up followed the direction of natural reason in seeking good and avoiding evil, we must most certainly hold that God would either reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed, or would send some preacher of the faith to him as he sent Peter to Cornelius (Acts 10:20). (Disputed Questions on Truth, Q. 14, Art. XI)

I think that we worry about all those poor souls as an excuse for our own disbelief.

Salvation is in Christ–it happened before even the foundation of the universe… it unfolded at the Incarnation of the Word… it includes all of man, all of the time (before, during, and after the Incarnation of the Word)… since God has allowed Himself to be Known through nature even those who have never heard a word from the Gospel will be given Knowledge of Jesus through their spirit–that portion of God that we all have from the moment of conception… it is the Holy Spirit Who will convict all–those who genuinely never had a chance to know God, those who were fortunate to have had heard the Word, and even those that, through no fault of their own, have been made blind to the Truth.

God is the ultimate equalizer:

32 For I desire not the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God, return ye and live. (Ezekiel 18:32)

11 So shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth; because he asketh for the saints according to God. (Romans 8:26-27)

Maran atha!


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