Taste and See: The wonder of new life in Christ

Easter Vidgil

The Collect at Mass on Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, has a remarkable rhetorical force.

L,God of everlasting mercy,
who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast
kindle the faith of the people you have made your own,
increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed,
that all may grasp and rightly understand
in what font they have been washed,
by whose Spirit they have been reborn,
by whose Blood they have been redeemed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The rhetoric of course is as nothing compared to the power of the newness and radical change that is brought about in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

Yet in that solid drum beat ‘In what font …’, ‘by whose Spirit…’, and finally ‘by whose blood’ we are newly engaged by the enormity of our sacramental regeneration in and by Christ.

In each of these modes, each hopefully still fresh in our experience from the Easter Vigill the Lord has united himself with us that we might be united with him.

  • Of what have you been cleansed?
  • For what have you been reborn?
  • Why and when have you been redeemed?

Offer your prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord.

Photograph of baptism in the parish of St Johns Wood, 2011.

Taste and See: the Faith of the Church

Baptistry Mary Major

During the seasons of Lent and Easter there is encouragement for us to use the Apostles’ Creed at Mass.

This Creed is the ancient baptismal Creed of the Roman Church. The reason for its preferment during Lent and Easter is that it is in these seasons  that, first, men and women are preparing for Baptism and initiation into the Church and, then, that they begin to live by the grace of the sacrament.

The use of the baptismal Creed at Sunday Mass prepares for their profession of faith (and our renewal of that profession at the Easter Vigil or on Easter Sunday), and reminds that it is by that faith we strive to live thereafter.

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

At the words that follow, up to and including ‘the Virgin Mary’, all bow.

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand
of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

The baptismal Creed has a more evidently narrative form than the Niceness Creed when speaking of the Second Person of the Trinity.

As we prepare for Holy Week where the narrative of the Passion looms large in the prayer life of the Church it is maybe worth asking ourselves what have been the key moments of our life and why? And to ask why these moments in the life of Jesus are the ones the Church takes care to note in the Creed.

Mary Major baptistry

During these last days of Lent do pray for those who are to celebrate the sacraments of initiation at Easter.

Photographs are of the Baptistery of St Mary Major’s in Rome. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.