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Sunday, September 4, 2011
Activities for our Baptism Anniversary
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What activities should we, as Catholics, perform on the anniversary of our baptism?  Well, perhaps I am getting ahead of myself.  Do you even remember the date on which you were baptized?  You remember your birthday and secular holidays.  For those readers from the United States, I'm sure you can recall the secular meaning of July 4th, can you not?

Yet, why do you fail to remember heavenly occassions?  Have you failed to recall the date on which your soul was purchased from satan.  That's right, it has always been taught that we can not be saved without Baptism.  Before your Baptism your soul belonged to satan.  Whether you were baptized as a child or as an adult, you (or your parents on your behalf) made a series of promises to the Church and you are bound to keep your share of those promises.

Thus, your first responsibility is to find out when you were baptized - the month, day, and year.  Next, write this on your calendar each and every year.  On the anniversary of your baptism, you should renew your baptismal promises and re-read the Rite of Baptism.  To aid you in this, I share below the Rite of Baptism performed according the 1962 Rubrics, which are still used by traditional Catholics.  Even if you were baptized in a different Rite (after all, you might have been baptized in an Eastern Catholic Rite), this Rite (or a similar one) should be read each year on your Baptism as a reminder of the transformation in your soul on that day.  Your soul will never the be same.  If you go to Heaven or Hell, your soul - by Baptism - is marked.  There is a mark present on your soul in a real way so that in the life hereafter it will be visible - no matter if you go to Heaven or Hell.

We begin our examination of the Rite of Baptism.  The Traditional Baptismal Rite begins as follows:

1. The priest says the greeting: Peace be with you.

He then asks the name of the child (if several are to be baptized he asks the name of each one):

Priest: What is your name?
Sponsors: N.

{From the beginning the Church has proclaimed to men the good news of salvation in Christ. And from one who wants the benefit of the good news the response of faith is demanded. To ask for baptism is first of all to ask for the faith of the Church. In the following brief dialogue between priest and subject is summed up the chief content of Christian life, of which faith is the foundation, everlasting life the goal, and love of God and of neighbor the means. The priest's role in the sacrament is pointed up here, that of representative of Christ and the Church, the role he plays from start to finish of the sacramental action.}

P (to each): N., what are you asking of God's Church?

Sponsors: Faith.

P (to each): What does faith hold out to you?

Sponsors: Everlasting life.

Stop here. Before you were baptized, you (or your parents on your behalf) asked for what? They asked for Faith. Faith is necessary for salvation. Our Lord, in His divine will in ordering of the universe, has made it so that we (as humans) can not love that which we do not know. We must first know something in order to love it. By Faith, we know God and by knowing God, we can love Him. Recall it was He who first loved us, while we were yet sinners (and unborn). It was then that our Lord gave up His Divine life in upspeakable love for us. We ask, before our baptism, for Faith. Do you have Faith? Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, and in His Son, the Redeemer of the World, and in the Holy Ghost? Do you belief that our Lord was crucified for our sins and, in so doing, died for all mankind? Do you believe that He rose again from the dead physically and ascended psychically into Heaven? Do you believe in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist? Do you believe all that the Church of God teaches?

You asked for Faith. Do you have it? Do you frequently pray the Act of Faith, a prayer which we we ask God to increase our Faith? If not, add it to your daily morning prayers (that is, assuming that you are faithful in your obligation to pray every morning).

And, what does the Rite of Baptism tell us that Faith will give us? It says "Everlasting life". Without Faith, we can not love God. If we have no love for God, He does not dwell within us. And if our Lord does not dwell within us, we can not be saved and possess everlasting life.

The Rite of Baptism continues with the priest saying:

P (to each): If, then, you wish to inherit everlasting life, keep the commandments, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

Now ask yourself, do you keep the Commandments? Can we say as the Psalmist proclaims, "Therefore have I loved thy commandments above gold and the topaz"? Do you love God more than men? Do you love God more than your family, your possessions, and even your own life? Our Divine Redeemer has said that "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment" (Matthew 22:37-38).

Do you love God more than everything else in the world? And if you say yes, do your actions show it? "Faith without works is dead," says St. James.

I ask that you continue through this examination. Reference the Rite of Baptism and continue to search your own soul. If you find yourself in sin, go to Confession (assuming you have already been baptized in the Catholic Faith). Go to Confession to receive the pardon of Almighty God.

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