Why do we renew our baptismal promises?

Marlon De La Torre

Director of Catechesis

North Texas Catholic

6/19/2017

 

Our human identity is intimately linked to the sacrament of baptism; through it we are reborn as children of God. In baptism we are incorporated into the life of Christ. This rebirth includes the freedom from sin and our incorporation into the Church, sharing in Christ’s redemptive mission on the cross. 

Baptized into Christ’s Death
When we hear the phrase “baptized into his death,” the twofold question is, “why his death and how?” St. Paul explains: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into his death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4) “Baptized into his death” refers to the shedding of the stain of original sin, which is buried in the baptismal water. Christ was baptized to initiate his journey in freeing humanity from the bondages of sin, thus our baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit allows us to become partakers of Christ’s death. If we are baptized into Christ’s death, then we are also baptized into his life as witnessed by his resurrection. 

Our Christian Initiation 
St. Paul reminds us that the baptized have “put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27; CCC 1228), meaning baptism serves as a means to purify, justify, and sanctify (1 Corinthians 6:11; CCC 1228). This threefold understanding of baptism describes the stages by which we, as children of God, grow and mature into a deeper relationship with Him. We call this process of conversion “Christian initiation” and the Church currently defines this process as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. 

All of us, baptized or unbaptized, have an opportunity to journey toward and with Christ. This journey contains several essential elements; e.g., proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel, entailing conversion, profession of faith, baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion (CCC 1229). 

Why Renew our Baptismal Promises?
So, if we are already baptized and have made a profession of faith either via our parents at infancy or as catechumens, isn’t this sufficient? Our identity as baptized Catholics simply does not end at baptism, and baptism alone does not completely satisfy our appetite to seek Christ in a more intimate way. It opens the door to seek a genuine and edifying communion with Christ that can only be accomplished by taking the first step toward Christ in baptism. Our post-baptismal journey requires us to continually seek and live out a more mature response to God’s love for us. The faith required for baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop (CCC 1253). 

The maturation the Catechism refers to is our willingness to grow in faith with Christ especially through the sacraments: frequent reception of reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. 

Reborn as children of God, we the baptized must profess the faith we have received from God through the Church and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the people of God (CCC 1270). Thus, we renew our baptismal promises:   

  • to openly and directly reject the temptation of sin, the devil himself, and his empty promises.
  • to publicly and openly profess our faith to Jesus Christ the Son of the living God who died for our sins and founded the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. 
  • to grow in sanctity to hear our Lord more clearly.
  • to be Christ-like to others.
  • to prepare for our final resting place with God.

Our human identity is intimately linked to the sacrament of baptism; through it we are reborn as children of God. In baptism we are incorporated into the life of Christ. This rebirth includes the freedom from sin and our incorporation into the Church, sharing in Christ’s redemptive mission on the cross. 

Published (until 6/19/2030)
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