Saturday, January 13, 2007

Living out Baptism

Anonymous asked, "How can you live the promise of your Baptism each day?" Great question, thanks! Easy answer: live out the Gospel! Oh, you were looking for a little bit more. Ok. Much of this goes back to what I posted on yesterday: Grace. Sanctifying Grace, which we first receive at Baptism, is what we need to have eternal life. Each time that we receive the sacraments, we renew the Sanctifying Grace that we received at (and, with the possibility of mortal sin, maybe lost since) Baptism. The best way, then, to live out our Baptismal promises is to live a sacramental life.

What are these promises? At the Masses every Easter, we publicly renew our Baptismal promises by answering 'I do' to each of the following questions:

Do you reject Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises?
Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

The Catechism gives us some general guidelines on how to live out our Baptismal promises:

"Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders (see Heb 13:17), holding them in respect and affection . Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church...Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church" and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God" (#1269-70).

And from #2340:

"Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God's commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer. "Indeed it is through chastity that we are gathered together and led back to the unity from which we were fragmented into multiplicity" (St. Augustine).

Each of us became a "new creature" at Baptism. Every time we renew our Baptism through the Eucharist, Confession, or the other sacraments, each of us becomes a "new creature", thanks to God's Grace. Awesome!

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