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Commemorate the Baptism of the Lord

One of the things that I am honored to do in my work as Director of Liturgical Life is to oversee and teach our baptism program. Every Monday, for over a year now, I have met individually with families that are seeking to bring their sweet babies and children into the Catholic faith. Many families that I talk with simply think that they are fulfilling tradition, they are baptizing their kids because they were baptized. I get to take time to explain to them the importance of why we do this as Catholics.

Baptism is the first Sacrament of Initiation and is incredibly important to begin a life of faith for several reasons.

1. Baptism is the first step we take in entering the Catholic faith. Most children under the age of 7 and babies are brought forth by their parents who make promises to raise them as Catholic.

2. This is a necessary purification that cleanses that child of their Original Sin, the sin that each of us inherits from Adam and Eve's sin against God. The recipient receives justifying and sanctifying grace and we believe the Holy Spirit now dwells within them.

3. It leaves a spiritual mark, or an indelible mark, upon that person's soul that can never be removed and signifies that they belong to Jesus Christ.

4. We believe that in order to be saved one must be baptized. Of course God can work outside of the Sacraments, but what we know for sure through revelation is that this is a necessary means of salvation.

5. Partaking in baptism brings us into God's family as adopted sons and daughter, and also makes us a member of the pilgrim church on earth.

The Rite of Baptism, an act of purification, comes to us from the example of St. John the Baptist and Jesus. We celebrate this feast of the Baptism of the Lord every year on the first Sunday following the Epiphany of the Lord. This year, 2023, we will celebrate it on January 8th, but it is considered a moveable feast. In the Novus Ordo calendar, this feast day brings a close to the Christmas season.

This day commemorates the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. On this occasion, Jesus entered into His ministry and acquired His first disciples, St. John proclaimed Christ the Lamb of God, whose way he had prepared, and the Triune nature of the Godhead was manifested. (EWTN)

Through this humble act of Christ, who had no sin, he enters fully into the human reality through Baptism and sanctifies the waters. It is in imitation of Him that we too are baptized so that we can live our own human reality with sinlessness, virtue, and closeness with God. By being baptized, Christ affirms the necessity of this action and is further emphasized when we read that the Heavens opened up and God the Father affirms His Son.

When we look to commemorate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we should really think of our own baptisms and consider how we can renew those promises in our every day lives.

O Lord, your Baptism shows us that you are not remote. You are at our side. You know sin but are not a sinner. Give us the grace to renew our baptism through a frequent reception of confession and the Holy Eucharist. By receiving one, we strengthen the others. By receiving You, we receive God Himself. Amen. (Prayer from My Catholic Life)

Remember your baptismal call by celebrating the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and your own baptism anniversary, with these liturgical living ideas. See how great this is, you are getting a twofer!

1. Return to a state of grace like you were on your baptism day. Seek to go to confession today, or sometime this week.

2. Light your baptism candle, and your children's, at dinner this evening (the feast of the Baptism of the Lord) and on your baptism anniversaries. If you don't know where yours is, buy another one that can represent that glorious day that you entered the Church.

3. Display baptism gowns in a shadowbox. You can hang them in the room of each child or in your own room, to remind everyone that they belong to Christ.

4. I had a friend who would cut parts of her wedding dress and have them sewn into the baptism gowns of her children. I thought this was so meaningful, the children that poured forth from their wedding vows were now connected through an heirloom to their baptismal promises.

5. Renew your baptismal promises together as a family during prayer time or before/after dinner. You can find those here.

6. Place a holy water font by your front door. As you come and go, tap your fingers in the holy water of your domestic church and remember your baptismal calling.

7. Bless your home with holy water. This is also traditionally done on the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord and I have a kit ready to go for you here.

8. Read the story of Christ's Baptism from scripture. You can find that easily here.

9. For dinner on this feast day I usually make stuffed pasta shells. This is one of my favorite recipes because it is so tasty, but it also makes a special connection to the shell used in the Sacrament of Baptism.

10. If you are a godparent, call your godchildren and wish them a happy feast day. Explain to them why this day is special, and maybe share a meaningful story from the day you were present at their baptism.

Finding one or two ideas here that fit your family lifestyle will make this feast day, your own baptism anniversary, and that of your children all the more meaningful. I can't wait to hear how these things are going for you! You can sign up to comment here, or share with me on Facebook or Instagram.


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