Lesson 9: Not So Much Jacob's as Sarah's

Question. What did your godfathers and godmothers then for you?
Answer. They did promise and vow three things in my name. . . .

The Catechism was written nearly four hundred years ago (in 1549); so naturally some of its words are a bit old-fashioned. The question means, “What did your godparents do for you when you were baptized, besides giving you your Christian name?”

In return for the three things God did for you they made three solemn promises to God for you (a “vow” is a solemn and unbreakable promise made to God). Sometimes people say that that was not fair on you, as you were too young to understand what was happening. But suppose that, when I baptized you, I gave your mother £100 on condition that she banked it in your name for your use when you were grown-up, and she promised and vowed to do this; would you think it unfair?

The three vows were R, B, O: Renouncing, Believing, Obeying.

Your godparents made them for you; but at your confirmation you take them upon yourself (5), since they were made “in your name.” (The £100 in the bank “in your name” belongs to you, and to nobody else.) You can do just as you like about keeping the vows: you have Free Will. But you will never reach your inheritance unless you do keep them; though you will always be a member of Christ and the child of God.

Do you remember Jacob’s dream (Genesis 28, 10-12); and the Identity Card (3)?

Sarah Susannah Snatchpiece’s “ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reaches to heaven” has three steps: R, B, O.

So has yours; and mine.