Be careful when you say, "I do!"

Image: NLM

Lent isn't merely a season to "give something up"  Lent is a season to prepare for Easter. In special ways we pray for and prepare those who will receive the Easter sacraments. But all of us, including the already baptized, need to prepare to celebrate the Paschal feast as well.

At the Easter Vigil and at Mass on Easter Sunday, we will be invited to renew the promises of baptism when we are asked:

- Do you reject sin so as to live in the freedom of God’s children?
- Do you reject the glamor of evil and refuse to be mastered by sin?
Do you reject Satan, and all his works and empty promises?
- Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, 

     maker of heaven and earth?
- Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God?
- Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life?
- Do you believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church?
- Do you believe in the forgiveness of sins?

- Do you look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come?

And we respond: I do, I do, I do!

But, do we?

Is this what we believe? Is this what we live?
Do we even understand the questions?

What do we need to do to prepare to answer these questions from our hearts?

For some help in looking at these creedal questions and our response to them, spend some time at this site, offered by Creighton University.

Lent is a good time for us to study these questions so that we can be prepared to answer them with a strong, I do! at Easter. Fr. Bill Reiser, SJ has proposed some additional questions to ponder as we prepare in Lent to renew our baptismal promises at Easter. Perhaps his questions will be food for prayer, fasting and almsgiving this Lent in preparation for Easter:
- Do you accept Jesus as your teacher, as the example whom you will always imitate and as the one in whom the mystery of God’s love for the world has fully been revealed?

- Do you dedicate yourself to seeking the kingdom of God and God’s justice, to praying daily, to meditating on the Gospels and to celebrating the Eucharist faithfully and devoutly?

- Do you commit yourself to that spirit of poverty and detachment that Jesus enjoined on his disciples, and to resisting the spirit of consumerism and materialism that is so strong in our culture?

- Do you accept responsibility for building community, for being a person of compassion and reconciliation, for being mindful of the poor and the oppressed, and for truly forgiving those who have offended you?

- Will you try to thank and praise God by your works and by your actions, in times of prosperity as well as in moments of suffering, giving loyal witness to the risen Jesus by your faith, by your hope, and by the style of your living?

- Do you surrender your life to God as a disciple and companion of Jesus? Do you believe that God is the Lord of history, sovereign over nations and peoples, and that God’s promise to redeem all of creation from its bondage to death and decay will one day be accomplished?

All of these questions, the traditional and the new ones, are offered here for your Lenten reflection, prayer and action. Soon we’ll be renewing our baptismal promises and professing our faith in God. Let us pray for one another that this Lenten season of preparation will find us ready to answer “I do!” with voices and hearts filled with faith.

(You might find it helpful to print this post and keep the questions above at hand for prayer and reflection...)
Lent 2010


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