Presence of God – O God, who without any merit on my part, have made me Your child, grant that my life may be worthy of this divine Sonship.
The Church, like a mother anxious for the salvation of her children, and eager to rescue them from the slavery of Satan, to make them living temples of God, does not wait until a child is able to appreciate the value of Baptism, but hastens to confer it upon him in the first days of his life. Thus Baptism is the only Sacrament which is given without the consent of the recipient. However, the Church requires that competent sponsors represent the newborn child in order that God’s gift may not be lost through the child’s unawareness in receiving it. As soon as the child has attained the age of reason, it is the sacred duty of these sponsors to see that it understands and appreciates this great Sacrament and lives accordingly. Indeed, we are all bound to cultivate during the entire course of our life that knowledge and appreciation which we could not take personally to the baptismal font; we are bound to live in such a way as to place no obstacle to the development of baptismal grace, thus making ourselves more worthy of the sacramental character we have received. We must live up to the pledges of our Baptism, that is, we must conform our lives to the petitions, renouncements, and promises which our godparents made in our name. Through our godparents we asked for faith; we renounced Satan and all his works and pomps; we requested to be baptized, so that we might be received into God’s great and holy family.
God, by means of the Church, has delivered us from the bonds of sin; He has taken us into His arms and marked us with an indelible sign as His children. The passing years, the vicissitudes of life, our failures to cooperate with grace, even the most serious sins, if we have been so unfortunate as to commit any, can never destroy that indelible mark of a child of God. Think what an honor it is, how glorious and blessed, to be for all eternity the child of God! “Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). We are children of God, not through any merit on our part, but only through His infinite goodness anticipating, as it were, our request and desire.
“O Lord, I beseech You, keep my faith pure and grant that, until my last sigh, I may feel the testimony of a good conscience. Grant that I, who have been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, may always believe what I professed in the Sacrament of my regeneration. Let me adore You, my Father, and Your Son with You; let me be worthy of the Holy Spirit who proceeds from You and Your only-begotten Son. Truly I have a worthy pledge of faith to guarantee what I believe, and it is He who said, ‘Father, all that is Mine is Yours, and all that is Yours is Mine,’ Jesus Christ, my Lord, who lives in You and who, remaining God, proceeds from You, is always near You, and is blessed forever and ever” (St. Hilary).
“I renounce Satan! O my God, this was my baptismal promise, a solemn promise made in the presence of the Church, a promise so explicit that no one can dispense me from it, a promise recorded by angelic hands, a promise on which I shall be judged at the hour of my death.
“O my God, I desire to renew very fervently that promise today. Therefore, with all my heart and all my strength, I renounce you, O Satan; I renounce you, abominable sin; I renounce you, detestable world!
“O Lord Jesus Christ, I give myself entirely to You forever. I desire to adhere to Your holy doctrine by faith, to Your sacred promises by hope, to Your divine commandments and counsels by love and charity. I desire to follow You by the practice of all the virtues. I desire to follow You as my Head, as a living member of Your Body” (St. John Eudes).
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Art: Baptismal font in the Cathedral of Magdeburg, Germany. The font is made of red porphyry (Porfido rosso) from a site near Assuan, Egypt. Originally designed as a fountain with a hole in the center, the item may be thousands of years old, and is still used for baptism today, Chris73, 19 December 2004, CC-SA, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.