Prepared to Answer

resurrectionOne thing we can say for sure when Easter arrives: Lent is over.

A couple weeks ago, some people told me I looked thinner. I was like, “Ah–don’t think so. I’m the worst Lenten faster ever. If I look thinner, it’s just a fluke.”

To be honest, I flailed through Lent in a spiritual haze, holding on for dear life, wondering when the Lord would finally bring on spring. I’m sure all of you kept a holier Lent than that. Forty days more focused on prayer, sacrifice, and helping the poor.

Whatever the case, now it’s over. Lent is officially over. And the whole reason we keep Lent has arrived. All our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving serves to prepare us spiritually for the moment when the Church askes us a few simple questions.

Maybe some of us can remember when we were baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ. Many of us cannot. That whole question is moot right now anyway. We have all grown up and can answer the questions for ourselves.

The moment has come for us to own our answers to these questions The answers are called our ‘baptimal promises.’ The moment has come to put everyting–heart, soul, mind, and strength–into our answers.

We do penance during Lent to prepare for this. We pray, we fast, we impose discipline, so that we can summon our whole selves and answer these questions with all the sincerity of which we are capable, the sincerity of God’s beloved children.

Do you renounce Satan?…

Year-of-Faith Baptistery Visit

Today in Rome, our Holy Father inaugurates the Year of Faith at St. Peter’s Basilica—fifty years to the day after the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and twenty years to the day after the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

One of the pious activities which the Pope recommends for us: to visit the place of our baptism and renew our baptismal promises there.

The 42nd anniversary of my own baptism is one week from today. Three years ago, I stopped in the church and made a visit.

I thanked the Lord for baptizing me in such a nice, historic Presbyterian church. I also thanked Him that I got to become Catholic, 22 years later.

We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, risen from the dead, ascended into heaven. We believe that He guides all things in favor of our salvation and our triumph in glory in heaven. We walk by faith in the One into Whose death we have been baptized. The whole purpose of life is that our baptism might come to full flower.

Perhaps it seems incongruous to baptize a nursing baby into the crucifixion of a Palestinian carpenter from 2,000 years ago. Incongruous to take the pride and joy of the preening parents in hand, and ritually unite the child with the obscure death of an apparently obscure man.

But it makes perfect sense, because:

1. Everyone dies. Even the cutest baby. Someday: a corpse.

2. The obscure man into Whose death we are baptized is Almighty God.

3. He rose from the dead. We are baptized into His resurrection and His eternal glory, too.

Where your unworthy servant was baptized

When we were baptized, someone made the promise of faith. Speaking for myself, I was too young to make such a promise at the time. My interests then focused almost exclusively on sleeping and breast milk.

But someone made the promise for me: I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Incarnation, the Redemption, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Church, the sacraments. I believe in heaven.

It certainly will do us all a lot of good, insofar as we are able, to visit the place where the promise of faith was first made for me, and to make it again, as if for the first time.