The 7 Promises of Baptism and How to Live Them Out
Written by catholicradio on April 20, 2023
Most Catholics were baptized in infancy and don’t recall the promises made on their behalf. However there are opportunities to renew them at various times in the liturgical year and during one’s life.
Baptism Is a Sacrament of Initiation
Baptism is the first sacrament one receives when entering the Catholic Church. Whether during infancy or later, it is only received once and is an official entrance into the Body of Christ. A person no long belongs to the world, but is an adopted son or daughter of God in whom the Holy Spirit now dwells.
There Are 5 Symbols in Baptism
- The baptismal font. “Baptism” means “to be immersed”, recalling that the Church’s first baptisms occurred in bodies of water such as streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. The first indoor baptisms were in the Roman catacombs.
Today baptismal fonts are located at the front of every Catholic Church signifying the sacrament as the door to the Church.
- Water. Jesus is the Living Water. With water we are cleansed from original sin in the sacrament. We receive divine life and new birth.
- Holy Oils. Two of the three holy oils are used. The oil of catechumens is used to bless the recipient to prepare for the sacrament. The second is Sacred Chrism which is used during baptism, confirmation, holy orders, and when consecrating a church.
- Baptismal Candle. This represents the flame of faith which keeps burning throughout the life of the baptized. Reminding us of Christ’s Passion and rising, the candle represents the cleansing of original sin, the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, and the hope of eternal life.
- Baptismal Gown. This garment is white, symbolizing being cleansed from sin, clothed with Christ, and a new creature through the sacrament.
Baptism Is an Event Meant to Be Lived
In an Easter Vigil homily, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed:
“What happens in baptism is the beginning of a process that
embraces the whole of our life – it makes us fit for eternity…”
Although the sacrament of baptism is only administered one time, it is meant to be recalled. Baptism is the beginning of a spiritual process in which we learn what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ. We are called to follow Christ and witness His love for us to others.
It is important to recall our baptisms and the promises made on our behalf by godparents as infants, or the promises we made if entering the Catholic Church at a more mature age. They include:
- renouncing Satan, his works, and empty promises
- belief in God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth
- belief in Jesus Christ, his only Son, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father
- belief in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting
7 Ways to Live Out Your Baptismal Promises
- Make use of holy water fonts when you enter and exit a church. Slow down the Sign of the Cross you make with holy water, recalling the Holy Trinity. Reflect on holy water as a symbol of the waters of baptism.
- Consider purchasing a small holy water font for your home. Hang it near the entrance of where you can bless yourself when entering or exiting your “domestic church”. You can also keep small bottles of holy water visible in various areas of your home.
- In your daily prayers, thank God for your sacrament of baptism. Reflect on your heritage of faith and gift of this sacrament in your own life.
- Renew your baptismal promises. Pay particular attention at the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. You can also renew them privately, on the anniversary date of your baptism, or during the Easter season as a family. Don’t forget to sprinkle holy water.
- Use your baptismal candle (or purchase a blessed replacement). Light it on special occasions such as anniversaries of baptism, first communion, and confirmation or whenever you want to recall the flame of faith that lives within you.
- As a family, place everyone’s baptismal candles (and garments, if you have them) on the family home altar or as a special centerpiece during the Easter season.
- Meditate on the scriptures. Practice lectio divina when reading about the baptism of Jesus. Or do a bible word study and look for passages referring to water in the Old and New Testaments, or Living Water and eternal life. See what the Holy Spirit reveals to you.
Catholic Radio Helps the Spiritual Process Begun at Baptism
The words of Pope Benedict XVI remind us that baptism begins a process that leads us to eternity. Today’s culture is sometimes at odds with what is best for our souls. We need to surround ourselves with voices that speak the truth about Christ and the Catholic Church.
Catholic Radio Network provides several options listen that will edify the soul and fortify the spirit. Click here to find your local station. You can also download our mobile app for Android and Apple to listen at your convenience.