The Sin of Adam and Eve - by Domenichino - from Musée des Beaux-Arts, Grenoble
God the Father, borne by Cherubim and Angels, descends to Rebuke Adam, who blames Eve, who in turn points to the Serpent as the cause of their Fall from Grace. Animals still roam freely in their Earthly Paradise, but the Lion at the right is already Metamorphosing from a Friendly Feline to an Aggressive Beast.
Man's First abuse of his Human Liberty/Freedom was by Adam and Eve.
Original Sin is not an 'Act', but a 'State'. The "State of Original Sin" is simply the Loss of Sanctifying Grace and the Preternatural Gifts which resulted from the Original Sin - the First Sin committed by the Human Race. As a result we Suffer, Die Physically, Struggle with Passions and Desires which our Wills are too Weak to Control, and have Minds which are Darkened by Sin requiring the Help of God, which comes to us as the Holy Spirit's Gift of Grace.
In the beginning, the Creator gave our First Parents, Adam and Eve, Three (3) Distinct Sets of Gifts:
So at their Creation, our First Parents enjoyed a Supernatural State of Communion ('Original Justice') with their Creator, as well as many other Benefits.
When they Disobeyed God's Command, they Cut-themselves-off from God, the Source of all Life. Thus they Forfeited Sanctifying Grace and Died Spiritually. As a result, we their Descendents are born Spiritually Dead (Ephesians 2:1), Bereft of Sanctifying Grace and Cut-off from Fellowship with the Living God. This is what the Church means when she says that Infants are "In a State of Original Sin"; not that Little Babies commit Sinful Acts In Utero, or are Tainted by their Parents' Sins or by the Sex Act. The "State of Original Sin" is simply the Lack-of Sanctifying Grace which Resulted from the Original Sin - the First Sin Committed by the Human Race.
Our First Parents also Forfeited all the Preternatural Gifts listed above, both for themselves and for their Descendents. As a Result we Suffer (Genesis 3:16,19), Die Physically (Romans 5:15), Struggle with Passions and Desires which our Wills are too Weak to Control (Romans 7:19-23), and have Minds which are Darkened by Sin (Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:17-19).
Though they did not Lose the Natural Gifts (i.e. Existence), the Loss of Control over Passions and the Darkening of their Minds Adversely affected their Bodies and Souls, giving them a certain Inclination towards Evil Actions which they did not possess before the Fall. This Proclivity towards Sin, along with Physical Mortality and Suffering, are among the Secondary Aspects of Original Sin in the Human Race. But Original Sin Primarily consists in the Loss of Grace and Divine Communion.
So Catholics actually believe that the Human Race Fell from a Supernatural State of Life - giving Union with God to a purely Natural State, Devoid of Spiritual Life or Preternatural Gifts. The Fall did not Totally Corrupt our Nature; it merely Wounded it and Severed Fellowship with God, but these Things are not Irreparable. However, we still cannot Save Ourselves from this State, for we cannot Restore to ourselves the Sanctifying Grace which we Lost in the Fall. We can perform Natural Good Deeds, but they cannot Restore that Holy Quality to our Souls, for God alone can Restore that Divine Gift.
And God has Restored it to us. Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, Redeems us by His Cross and Resurrection and Applies the Sin-Cleansing Merits of His Suffering and Death to us through Baptism. He does not merely "Impute" His Righteousness to us, but actually makes us Holy, Righteous, New Creations by this Sacrament (2Corinthians 5:17). Through it we Die with Christ to Original Sin and are Raised to Eternal Life (Romans 6:2-11).
This is why Scripture says that Baptism now Saves us (1Peter 3:21), Washes away our Sins (Acts 22:16), Forgives Sin (Acts 2:38) and Regenerates us (Titus 3:5). Of course, the Water in-and-of itself cannot do these things, but when poured over the Forehead with the Invocation of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus imparts His Saving Grace to the Soul. As the Eternal Word Redeemed us through the Instrument of the Cross, so He Applies that Redemption to us through the Instrument of Water.
Though Baptism-by-Water is ordinarily necessary for Salvation, there are Two (2) exceptions in Extraordinary Circumstances. Those who Desire to be Baptized, but Die before Receiving the Sacrament can Receive from God the Graces they would have Received in Baptism. This is called Baptism of Desire. And those who are Martyred for Christ, before being Baptized are said to receive Baptism of Blood, for God promises Salvation for all who shed their Blood for Christ - (see Matthew 16:25.)
Though this Sacrament Restores the Supernatural Gift of Communion with God, it does not Immediately Restore all the Preternatural Gifts. We do not become Immortal or Free from Suffering after Baptism; this will not occur until the Redemption of our Bodies at the General Resurrection (Romans 8:26; 1Corinthians 15:53; Revelation 21:4). Our Disordered Passions also remain with us throughout our lives, so we must Struggle against our Sinful Inclination with the Help of God, which comes to us as the Holy Spirit's Gift of Grace.
Prayer to Divine Providence