In keeping with this series of blog posts in the Octave of Easter, I wish to reflect with you further upon the renewal of Baptismal Promises we made on Easter Sunday.
The first point to consider is that the faith we profess comes to us through the Church. The Church teaches this at the conclusion of the profession of Faith when the presider says: “This is our Faith. It is the Faith of the Church, and we are proud to profess it in Christ our Lord.”
We do not profess this faith individually, but communally. In a real sense, even though we “choose” to become (as well as remain) Catholic, the Faith is always a gift given. For instance, in the Baptismal Rite, the priest asks the one to be Baptized: “Is it your will to be Baptized in the Faith which we have all professed with you?” It is from within the Church that any of us profess and live our Faith in Christ.
Just as Christ is one with His Church, so He is One with what the Church professes and teaches. In other words, Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus is the Message of the Church. At first glance, this may seem simple enough, but it is in further examination and especially in practice where this becomes quite demanding.
As already mentioned in previous blog entries, the first step of the New Evangelization is for each of us to grow in our friendship with Christ. We must first be disciples of the Lord before trying to speak of Him to others, let alone lead others to Him. The profession of Faith proclaims our belief in the Triune God, and following upon the acclamations of belief in each of the Three Persons, we profess: “I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”
We believe that Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6) and that His Truth is the way to a full human life; a life that leads to everlasting life. We also believe that this Truth is preserved in the Church, through the authority entrusted to St. Peter. (Matthew 16:16) Through Christ, the Truth of His Gospel and Life are contained within the Church, and preached through the Church. His Truth is what leads to true freedom. (John 8:32)
The challenge: How well are we striving to live the fullness of the teachings of the Church? How are we applying our profession of Faith to our values? Do we pick and choose which teachings we will follow? If so, why? Do we think we know better than the Lord? Is our wisdom greater than the 2000 years of teaching authority of the Church, an authority is holds from Christ?
Do we really want the Message Jesus handed down to us when He told His disciples to “Go out into the whole world and Preach the Good News.”? (Mark 16:15) Do we prayerfully wrestle with the teachings of Jesus and His Church in order to experience the freedom it brings? Or do we simply hope and pray the Message will change so we do not have to? Can we pray for greater docility towards the teaching of the Church?
The Easter Season is a grace-filled moment to ask the Lord for the grace to live His Truth more fully. Now is the time to humbly allow the Truth of Christ to reveal any inconsistencies between our faith and life. Now is the time to live the Truth more fully; to live the Truth in Love, so that we may grow more fully into Christ, who is the head. (Ephesians 4:15)