1 Peter 2:1-3
Peter tells us the first steps toward Christianity:
“Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, insincerity, envy, and all slander; like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good.” -1 Peter 2:1-3, NAB
Our journey toward Christ is similar to life itself. When we are born, we are new to the world, and we must learn even the most basic of tasks. Talking, walking, and crawling are something that we must learn. We do not come out of the womb knowing how to do these things, and it is a gradual process that we pick up over months and even years. As we begin our new lives in faith, we must learn to talk and walk as Christians.
These stages of growth are taught to us by our parents and other family members. In the Church, we look to our bishops, priests, and deacons, along with our fellow parishioners, to teach us the ways of Catholicism. They guide us, protect us, and show us the way to live our lives as Christians. They are our spiritual fathers and mothers, even our brothers and sisters. Like a newborn infant, when we are born again in Christ, we are not born knowing these things, we must be shown the way.
In order to accomplish these tasks, we must go through a period of growth. Infants rapidly grow into toddlers, toddlers into children, children into teenagers, and teenagers into adults. It all begins with the nourishment that we get from our mother’s bosom. Likewise, we need spiritual milk to grow into the next stage of our spiritual lives. If we do not experience growth, we will never mature as Catholics. We will stay spiritual infants indefinitely.
Our growth is not something that happens automatically. We must nourish our lives with the spiritual milk of prayer, reading Scripture, and worship. And, we nourish ourselves the most through the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. It is through these things that we become who God intended us to be – spiritually mature followers of Christ.