Back in 2011, Pope Benedict XVI made Baptism the focus of his Lenten reflection, reminding us that no matter how many decades ago we were baptized, the sacrament still speaks into our lives today and ”informs the entire existence of the baptized, imparting divine life and calling for sincere conversion; initiated and supported by Grace, it permits the baptized to reach the adult stature of Christ.” Every Lent is intended to be a recovery of the significance and the saving, soul-shaping power of this sacrament in our lives.
In fact the whole of Lent is ordered to baptismal grace, “A particular connection binds Baptism to Lent as the favorable time to experience this saving Grace,” Benedict says, “The Lenten journey finds its fulfillment in the Paschal Triduum, especially in the Great Vigil of the Holy Night: renewing our baptismal promises, we reaffirm that Christ is the Lord of our life.”
In Fr. Mike’s book, “33 Days to Morning Glory” we learn that the renewing of our baptismal vows is also beautifully linked to Marian consecration. So we are DOUBLY BLESSED this Lent to be consecrating ourselves to Mary in the very season that we are called to cooperate more fully with the graces of our baptism! The servant of Mary, St. Louis De Montfort, calls us to renew our baptismal vows and place them in the hands of Mary. He even proposes a simple prayer for doing this:
“I [name], a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him, all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before” (pg. 37).
Baptism and Marian consecration have the same end or purpose: shaping and maturing Christ in our souls that he may be visible to the world through us. That’s probably why, at the end of his Lenten reflection on the importance of renewing our appreciation of our baptism, Benedict XVI invites us to entrust our Lenten journey to our Lady: “In this our itinerary, let us entrust ourselves to the Virgin Mary, who generated the Word of God in faith and in the flesh, so that we may immerse ourselves – just as she did – in the death and resurrection of her Son Jesus, and possess eternal life.”