I have just finished making my own Crucifix and placed it where a smaller cross used to be. [The old cross was just fine, for a while, until I have learned that a Crucifix is better, more able to comply with Sacred Scripture and Church Tradition.] My attempt to become holy is beginning to show fruit; like the Enemy is resisting my efforts, with attacks and challenges. . .
Today’s Catechism (teaching) for me described the following:
THE SACRAMENTS, SIGNS OF GRACE, OF THE CHURCH
1117 “As she has done for the canon of Sacred Scripture and for the doctrine of the faith, the Church, by the power of the Spirit who guides her “into all truth,” has gradually recognized this treasure received from Christ and, as the faithful steward of God’s mysteries, has determined its “dispensation.”(Jn 16:13; cf.Mt 13:52; 1Cor 4:1) Thus the Church has discerned over the centuries that among liturgical celebrations there are seven that are, in the strict sense of the term, sacraments instituted by the Lord.”
SEVEN SACRAMENTS ARE DISPENSED OF, BY, AND FOR, THE CHURCH
1118 “The sacraments are “of the Church” in the double sense that they are “by her” and “for her.” They are “by the Church,” for she is the sacrament of Christ’s action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are “for the Church” in the sense that “the sacraments make the Church,”(St Agustine) since they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons.”
I am always trying to figure out, reason, and explain what life brings me and why. I did get the title here in my conscience at a time of physical cleansing and relaxing, and usually alone when I am openly thankful to “Father”. (I was taking a bath.) The weblog site is another issue. I think this is the most communicative one. Our Church family is in this too.*
Yesterday, we learned that the daughter of our next door neighbor, Sam, was involved in their church’s mission bus accident on Atlanta’s freeway. This is too close for comfort. Only one person on her team perished, but she suffered multiple cuts, bruises, swollen face, and the trauma of unsettling shock. Their destination was a flight to Africa.
BY THE GRACE OF GOD IN THE NAME OF CHRIST, THE CHURCH IS NOURISHED WITH THE WORD
1119 Forming “as it were, one mystical person” with Christ the head, the Church acts in the sacraments as “an organically structured priestly community.”(Pope Pius XII) Through Baptism and Confirmation the priestly people is enabled to celebrate the liturgy, while those of the faithful “who have received Holy Orders, are appointed to nourish the Church with the word and grace of God in the name of Christ.”(Lumen Gentium)
My ideas of Church has changed. I was born again when 22, in service to our country, in an English speaking Baptist Church on far away Okinawa, Japan. Today, I am just learning about sacraments, but realize my baptism is the same sign of grace as the nearest holy Catholic Church. Also, while in the service I suffered an air-crash as traumatic as our neighbor just did.
Because of our baptismal sacrament we wear the sign of grace in the world that the Enemy sees and makes plans to destroy us. But God’s sign of grace is greater than our sins, and we survive to show others the hope we have found in Our Crucified Lord. Jesus calls us to follow him in his Confirmation, receiving the anointing or “seal” of the Holy Spirit.
I was still a Baptist when I received my confirmation. But the pastor tried to convince me they don’t accept such teaching. This was to lead me along another of God’s paths, to receive faithful and priestly orders to serve the Church, and nourish her with the word and grace of God in the name of Christ. . . as a deacon. But the Enemy got me there too. [Divorce is hard]
SIGNS OF GOD’S GRACE FOR LEADERSHIP MEANS MORE DEDICATION
1120 “The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the service of the baptismal priesthood.(Lumen Gentium) The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church. The saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to their successors: they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person.(Cf. Jn 20:21-23; Lk 24:47; Mt 28:18-20) “The ordained minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the words and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the sacraments.”
If our Church is unable to learn and teach such redeeming principles, then we can look for a more excellent way. Having used up all my chits (youthful Charisms), I am left to write something of what I hear in my conscience. I am building prayer habits that show me a front line of spiritual combat. And the front is closing in. My social media activity is Enemy held.
It was Wednesday that I received a message from a Twitter follower that just flabbergasted me. He wanted me to be his heir for his fortune of 17.5 M in euros. He has a French name, and lived in France. He told me to email his banker in Nigeria. I did so to the best of my ability, and yesterday, received his long reply asking for my personal info and bank ID.
When I nonchalantly shared this with my (French) spouse, she became very upset. She knew it to be a scam and began taking my license and banking info. So she let me call the only financial advisor I know, and with assurance, he calmly explained to me, this is how a scam works. I was convinced I had been duped into thinking I could have such wealth.
THE SACRAMENTS ARE ORDERED FROM THE FIRST TO THE LAST
1121 “The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or “seal” by which the Christian shares in Christ’s priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible,(Council of Trent) it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.”
From this brief study, I can explain what the first sacrament is. It is the first sign of grace given by the Holy Spirit of acceptance. It is faith for belonging to the body of Christ, the Church. I’m referring to the Roman Catholic Church that authorizes this Catechism (teaching). The concept is understanding this, all grace, effective for all members, always.
Imagine taking a crucifix, like mine and making it an altar in your home. We need to learn to respect it, to honor and adore it. (This is not worshipping it.) We learn to worship God the Father who sent his Son with Holy Spirit to die on a wood cross so that we might not have to die. Jesus Christ’s death defeated death for us. His death is our ticket to ride into eternity.
But before we get seated on the bus, we want to have assurance that the sacrament of faith has punched our ticket. In other words, we have fully accepted our Lord and his promises. We can know without doubt when we die, we will see Jesus and hear him say to us, “Well done! You are my good and faithful servant. Come, enter into your reward as my bride.” (#Seatbelt)
“St. Thomas sums up the various aspects of sacramental signs: ‘Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it – Christ’s Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ’s Passion – grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us – future glory.” (Vatican.va)
AS THE ROMAN EMPIRE FELL TO THE CHRISTIANS, SO PROTESTANTS CAN BECOME CATHOLICS – video
It was last night that I heard the remarkable interview by Doug Keck with Archbishop Charles J. Chaput (pronounced, “Shapew”) about his book, Strangers in a Strange Land, Living the Catholic Faith in a Post Christian World. My takeaway was about how “our country was founded by Protestants, but just like Israel entering the Promised Land, they forgot God.”(YouTube.com)
He told of Rod Dreher’s book called the Benedict Option, as our societies’ retreat to an “ordinary Catholic”, and how secular unbelievers, who have gained wealth and influence, have killed the faith of those who built our country. “Our Church community has forgotten to contribute to society and has become passive.” Archbishop Chaput said. (audible.com)
Concluding, if you watched the video here, the Archbishop said that the Catholic Church had made it’s way into our country from the opposite side of the nation. The 13 original states were profoundly Protestant churches’ influence. So Catholicism has a shoe-in to win with Ecumenism efforts established by the authority of the Second Vatican Council. (Wikipedia.org)
QUOTE TO REMEMBER: “Truth does not change; it is only forgotten from one generation to the next.” -Archbishop Fulton Sheen
May the Lord bless and keep you till next time,
[Editor note: Permission to post portions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is granted by LIBRERIA EDITRICE VATICANA in writing by Secretary Director Giuseppe Costa, Sdb, dated 1-3-17.]