SACRAMENTS: The Memory Of Baptism by Gertrude the Great of Helfta

The Memory Of Baptism by Gertrude the Great of Helfta

If, at the close of your life, you wish to present the Lord with the robe of baptismal innocence without reproach and the seal of the Christian faith whole and unbroken, set apart some time in each year to recall the memory of your baptism, if possible around Easter or Pentecost.  To perform this exercise proficiently, you should encourage a sincere desire to be born again to God by the holiness of a renewed life, and to enter once more into a restored infancy.  Say: “God be merciful to me and bless me; look kindly and have mercy on me.  May my heart praise the Lord in sincerity and truth; let the whole Earth of my heart tremble and be moved before the presence of the Lord; may my spirit be recreated and renewed by the Spirit of his mouth; and may that good Spirit bring me to the land where justice reigns.”

Then recite the Creed and remember the sign of faith which was first impressed on you at baptism.  Make the sign of the cross on different parts of your body, as you do on your forehead and on your chest, saying: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Dearest Jesus, my crucified Love, impress the sign of your cross on my forehead and on my heart, so that I may live under your protection from now on and forever.  Give me a living faith, so that I can fulfill your Heavenly precepts; enlarge my heart, so that I may follow your commandments; and make me fit to become the temple of God and the home of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Ask our Lord to bless and protect you, and to send your angel to be your guide throughout the voyage of life, saying: “Jesus, Prince of Peace, Angel of the Great Counsel, be ever at my right hand as my leader and my guardian throughout my pilgrimage.  Let me never be confused or deflected from my course, or wander far from you.  Send your holy angel from Heaven to take charge of me as the minister of your loving care for me, to lead me onwards as you wish, to help me to walk in your ways, and to bring me at length to you, perfect and complete.  Amen.”

Welcome and greet this holy angel, saying: “Hail, holy Angel of God, guardian of my soul and of my body.  By the sweetest heart of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, shelter me in your faithful and fatherly care, for the love of God whose creation you are, and as I am, and for the love of the Lord who put me into your charge on the day of my baptism.  Help me to cross, unharmed and unsullied, the fierce-flowing, and hazardous torrents of this life, until I am admitted to behold, like you and with you, the incomparable beauty of the supreme King, the sight of which infinitely transcends the highest joy of our hearts can conceive.  Amen.”

Turn to Mary, the Mother of God, and ask her to obtain a complete renewal of your life for you.  Recall the moment when you were plunged into the water in the sacred font in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: “O Jesus, Fountain of Life, allow me to drink the living water that pours from you, so that I shall thirst after you alone forever.  Plunge me into the depths of your loving mercy.  Baptize me in the holiness of your liberating death.  Renew me in the blood with which you saved me.  Use the water flowing from your pierced side to eradicate all the sins I have committed since baptism.  Fill me with your Spirit, and take possession of me completely in purity of soul and body.  Amen.”

Recall the holy chrism with which you were anointed on emerging from the water of baptism, and ask our Lord to teach you everything you should know through the blessing of his Spirit: “Holy Father, through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, you have remade me with water and the Holy Spirit.  Grant me perfect and entire forgiveness of all my sins, and of your loving kindness take me into everlasting life by the anointing of your Spirit.  Amen.  May your peace be with me now and forever.  Amen.”

Say the following prayer in memory of the white robe with which you were clothed: “Jesus, Sun of Justice, clothe me with yourself, so that I can live as you wish.  Enable me from now on to keep the robe of my baptismal innocence white and unsullied in holiness, so that I can show it in all perfection at the seat of judgment and wear it then throughout eternity.  Amen.”

Think of the taper which was put into your hand, and pray for inward light: “Jesus, Unfailing Light, kindle the glowing lamp of your love in me.  Keep it always alight within me, and teach me how to make sure that my baptism remains pure and without reproach, so that I can appear in all humility and confidence when I am summoned to be found worthy to enter into the joys of everlasting life, and see you, the True Light, and the beauty of your divine countenance.  Amen.”

 

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