“Father, may we whom you renew in baptism bear witness to our faith by the way we live.”
This line from a conclusion to Saturday morning prayer for the Fourth Week of Easter is a very powerful petition with three strong components. If we were to take each one separately, and seriously, it could transform the life of every Christian.
First of all, the address to the Father is a simple, strong statement that it is God our Father who acts to renew us and has the power to strengthen us to bear witness to our faith. As Pope Benedict XVI has said in On Christian Love any movement toward God on our part is actually a response to his call. We are not the initiator here.
On to the three components . . .
Our Baptism is our entry into what we call The People of God. From the Second Vatican Council we understand that it is by virtue of our Baptism–not by our natural birth–that we become one of God’s people. We were not a people, until God called us and made us His own. Once we receive Baptism, we are transformed, born into a new life with God, and our original sin is washed away. The whole trajectory of our life changes. We join in the mission of Christ to spread the Good News that God has redeemed us through his cross, bringing salvation to all. This is great news! This is something we are excited about and want to tell the whole world about. As laypeople in the Catholic church, we have a special responsibility to bring this news into our workplaces and penetrate all the corners of the secular world which we encounter. Thus, our Baptism leads us into the second component of this prayer–bearing witness to our faith.
How do you bear witness to our faith? Do you do it by word, action, or both? Are you comfortable bringing the name of Jesus into everyday conversation? Are you comfortable speaking of your own faith and what it means to you? Have you contemplated what faith means to you? In order for our faith to break through, into the ordinariness of life, it must first be brought to the surface in our own lives. Only then will we be able to use this gift of faith that God has given to inspire others. And that brings us to the third component of this prayer–the way we live.
Every day we breathe, we make choices. As disciples of Christ, those choices should reflect our life in Christ. A life in Christ is one in which our primary desire is to love others as God loves us, to forgive others (and ourselves!) as God forgives, and, through the power of God, to be an instrument to draw others to Him. We are renewed, we bear witness, and we live in Christ. We must, of course, be close to God in order for this to happen.
Take some time today to pray that you may be open to following God’s will, whatever that looks like. Christianity does not have to be complicated and it certainly is not a narrow view of life. The freedom that comes when you practice your faith is such a gift, a real grace poured out.
In many of our churches, throughout the Easter season, we have been sprinkled with holy water. May God’s blessings through this very beautiful ritual, renew you in your Baptism!
Copyright 2011 Janet Cassidy