Have you ever asked yourself; “what is the final cause of everything that I do?” The answer can be summed up in the virtue of love. Truthfully, this is what ultimately drives our genuine desire to seek Christ and have a personal relationship with Him. Christ offered Himself out of love to bring us into full communion with Him.
St. Paul tells us:
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 death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:3-11)
When we truly reflect on the unique catechetical character of our Baptismal promises, several things come into play. First we are first asked if we will reject Satan, and all of his empty works, and all of his empty promises. After this, we are asked if we freely submit ourselves to a “Credo of belief” i.e. the Creed or Profession of Faith. The premise behind these requests is four-fold:
First: Will you and I forgo the temptations the Devil has subtlety placed in front of us over the past year?
Second: Will you and I seek the promise of redemption instead of the promise of desolation?
Third: Will you and I believe in the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and the salvific acts of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried?
Fourth: Will you and I recognize the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ on earth to prepare us for our final eternal rest in Heaven?
One of the most important aspects of renewing our baptismal promises is the free desire to enter into a more intimate communion with Jesus Christ. The basic premise is to reject Satan and his fallacies and embrace Christ.
Why Renew Our Baptismal Promises at Easter?
As St. Paul alluded to earlier, we are not only baptized into Christ’s life but also into his death. Easter alludes to the fact that Christ’s resurrection brings us into a new life with Him. It marks our journey of faith where Christ has conquered sin and death. In Baptism, we are new creatures brought forth for the kingdom of God. Our mission upon our Baptism is to proclaim the Gospel faithfully (2 Cor 5:17; CCC 1265). Renewing our Baptismal promises affirms our desire to remove ourselves from the near occasion of sin and understand that Baptism signifies the first redemptive act of Christ for all humanity.
These promises call us to publicly affirm that we do indeed believe in Jesus Christ and that we also agree to live according to the teachings of the Church. In other words whether we realize it or not, we freely attest not to subvert Christ or His Church privately or publicly.
Why Take Our Renewal Seriously?
Why not? Man was created with dignity. God would not have it any other way. However, when this dignity was bruised as a result of the sin of our first parents, there was an immediate need for a series of redemptive acts to occur culminating in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God Jesus Christ. Our Christian trait bears this mark since we are created in the image of God. God’s creation was not just going to be left to wallow and deteriorate. Because God so loved the world He created, He offered His only-begotten Son so that we may not perish to sin but have eternal life (Jn 3:16). This is part of what our Christian trait signifies i.e. love. If God chose to offer His Son to grant us the opportunity for salvation out of love then all of our actions should be directed to a final cause rooted in love. This is why.
Copyright 2014, Marlon De La Torre
About the Author
Marlon currently serves as the Director of Catechist Formation and Children’s Catechesis for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. He is an adjunct professor of Catechetics for Holy Trinity Seminary serving the Diocese of Dallas and Fort Worth and an adjunct professor of Catechetics for The Catholic Distance University. His published works include Screwtape Teaches the Faith. Learn more about Marlon's work at his blog Knowing Is Doing.