See also past Guest columns.

This Lent, remember your Baptism Print
Guest column
Written by Patrick Gorman   
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

This is the first in a series of several articles reflecting upon the Sacrament of Baptism.

We are approaching the season of Lent, a time set aside by the Church to help us prepare for Easter.

For many, this season is seen as a time that we "give something up." While offering ourselves to God always is important, the Church primarily views Lent through the lens of Baptism. In fact, here is what the Church says about Lent:

Lent is ordered to preparing for the celebration of Easter, since the Lenten liturgy prepares for celebration of the Paschal Mystery both catechumens, by the various stages of Christian initiation, and the faithful, who recall their own Baptism and do penance.(1)

Thinking of our Baptism

Have you ever thought about your own Baptism? Most of us were infants so we really can’t recall anything.

We know that Baptism forgives original sin, but does it do anything else? In fact, The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that "Baptism is the basis for the whole Christian life."(2)

Through Baptism we turn our backs to sin and turn toward Christ; we die to sin and rise in Christ; we are anointed Priest, Prophet, and King; we were given a white garment to wear to "put on Christ"; we were given a lighted candle to remind us and our godparents that the light of faith should always burn brightly through our lives; and we became members of the community of the Church.

We believe that Baptism is all of these things and more! God showers his grace upon us through this sacrament. Our job is to cooperate with his grace.

Garment, light, water

When faced with temptation, remind yourself that you are dead to sin and alive in Christ. Think about your white garment. Is it still pure white? If not, it can be cleaned through the Sacrament of Penance.

Does your light burn brightly? Evaluate your prayer life and reflect upon whether you live your life searching for (and doing) God’s will.

When we dip our fingers in the baptismal font or holy water upon entering church, we are not just blessing ourselves. Water is used so that we can remember our Baptism!

Perhaps this Lent, as you place your fingers in the font and make the sign of the cross, think about the effects of Baptism and how freely you allow God’s grace to shape your life.

During the course of several articles during Lent, we will examine the Rite of Baptism, especially the texts, signs, and symbols. Knowing more about what happens at Baptism can allow us to appreciate more fully both Lent and Easter.

You can read more about Baptism by visiting

(1)General Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar, 27 (emphasis added)

(2)Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213


Patrick Gorman is the director of the Office of Worship of the Diocese of Madison.