It is a very excellent and profitable devotion to celebrate in a pious manner the anniversary of the day on which we were baptized. We have far more reason to rejoice at the thought of the signal blessings imparted to us in our spiritual regeneration, than in the possession of life itself; for the latter can scarcely be a desirable object, unless it be sanctified by the institutions of religion, and become thereby a preparation for the happiness of eternity. Let the day of your baptism, therefore, be annually devoted to exercises of piety, and oth er good works. Besides your morning and evening prayers, which should be recited with more than usual devotion, make a meditation on the happiness you have received in your spiritual regeneration, when you became a child of God, and a member of his holy Church. What gratitude should you feel, and what fervent thanksgivings should you offer for this inestimable grace, which has been conferred upon you in preference to so many others! At your communion renew, with all the fervor of which you are capable, your baptismal engagements. Repeat to God the promise you once made, to renounce the devil, with all his works and pomps, that is, to shun sin and all its occasions. Beg pardon of God for having been so unfaithful to this promise, and consecrate yourself with increased zeal to his service.
PRAYER FOR RENEWING THE PROMISES OF BAPTISM
Most holy Trinity! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God in three persons! I present myself before thy sovereign Majesty, to pay thee the tribute of my adoration and thanksgiving, for the innumerable graces and blessings which thou has so liberally bestowed upon me, from my first coming into the world, until now. I thank thee particularly, O my God! for the inestimable grace of my baptism. What gratitude can bear proportion to such a favor? By baptism, I have been delivered from the power of darkness, and translated in to the kingdom of thy beloved Son; by baptism, I have been cleansed from the stain of that sin, in which I was born; by baptism, I have been made a member of the body of Jesus Christ, to live of his life, to be animated and guided by his spirit, to be fed with his sacred flesh, to enter into his designs, to imitate his virtues; finally, to be a living image of what he has been during his mortal life. These are the obligations of my baptism, these are the conditions of the alliance, which thou wouldst have me to contract with thee: and although I was at that time ignorant of them, and my will had no part in this sacred contract, far from wishing to be released from them, or appealing, in an manner, from my vows and professions, I ratify them now, and renew them in thy presence from the bottom of my heart, with a profound sorrow for having hitherto led a life so little conformable to my promises, and proved myself, by repeated transgressions, so unworthy of the glorious quality of thy child. But now, relying on the promised assistance of thy grace, it is my firm determination to labor all my life in fulfilling the sacred engagements which my sponsors have contracted in my name.
Yes, O my God! I renounce, for ever, Satan and all his suggestions, the world and all its pomps, sin and all its concupiscences. I am resolved, as it was promised in my behalf, to unite and attach myself more and more to Jesus Christ, my Saviour, and to make His divine laws and maxims the object of my earnest study, and the invariable rule of all my actions.
O Eternal Father! who wast pleased to adopt me in thy Son Jesus Christ, as one of thy children, and to call me to thy celestial inheritance, revive in me the grace of this divine adoption; and since I am regenerated by thee alone, in order to be a citizen of heaven, grant that I may live for thee alone, and that all my desires and labors may be directed to the acquisition of heavenly goods.
St. Vincent's Manual, Fifth Edition, 1850.