Alleluia, He is Risen!
One of the parts of our Easter Masses which I so love is the Renewal of our Baptism Promises. Since, for most of us, those promises were first made by someone else on our behalf, it is a wonderful ritual to each year proclaim again our commitment to them. And so each year after “we have completed our lenten observance,” we communally remake those promises, after which the priest sprinkles us with holy water, reminding us of our rebirth in Christ. We renounce Satan, his works and his empty promises and we affirm our belief in the Trinity.
“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, rosed 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 words are so familiar to us, it is easy to mouth our “I do”s without giving the words much thought. Because I’m in the process of writing a book about my conversion from Catholicism to Buddhism and back to Catholicism, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to them. Writing the book is causing me to engage in serious reflection about what it means to call myself a Catholic. While I will have a lot to say on this subject in the book, some of which may find its way into posts here, what I will say now is simply: it is a very useful…albeit difficult…process.
When was the last time you looked seriously at the promises and asked yourself what they mean to you? What it is that you are affirming when you say yes? What the promiese say about who God is to you and who you are to be in the world? If you haven’t engaged seriously in this process in a while, this Easter week is a good time to do so.