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Showing posts from February 12, 2012

Sacrement: Catholic Marriage

A Union Sealed by the
Sacrament of Matrimony To understand Catholic marriage in the sacrament of Matrimony, it's best to begin... ...in the beginning. God didn't have to make the human race male and female as he did. God didn't have to share his creative power with his own creatures and make the beginning of a new human life depend upon the free cooperation of a man and a woman with himself. There is a limitless number of other ways in which God could have arranged for the multiplication of human beings, had he chosen to do so. But God didn't do it any other way. He chose to make man male and female, and to give him the power, in partnership with himself, to produce new human life. By the act of intimate union which we call sexual intercourse, man and woman would fashion a physical image of themselves; and into this new body so wondrously begun God would infuse a spiritual and immortal soul. It is God, then, who bestowed upon humans the power of procreation—as the sexu…

Receiving the Lord: Holy Communion

Holy Communion is the act by which we receive the sacrament of Holy Eucharist. A Separate article discusses the nature of the Holy Eucharist. This current article explains Communion, the reception of Holy Eucharist as asacrament: What is the purpose of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?What effects does it produce in the soul? The purpose of the Eucharist We know that each of the Catholic sacraments produces its own special effect or effects. If the purpose of all sacraments were simply to give a single kind of grace, one sacrament would be enough; there would have been no need for our Lord Jesus to have instituted seven. The sacrament of the Holy Eucharist was instituted as a food, a spiritual food. That is why the outward sign of this sacrament—the appearances of bread and wine—is a sign of nourishment, just as in Baptism the outward sign is water, a sign of cleansing. The action by which we as individuals receive the Holy Eucharist is an act of eating. We swallow the appearances o…

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

Rising Again to New Life Many Catholics treasure the sacrament of Reconciliation. The peace of mind and soul which this sacrament imparts to us is one for which there is no substitute. It is a peace that flows from a certainty, rather than from an unsure hope, that our sins have been forgiven and that we are right with God. Although many converts to the Catholic Church initially fear it, they quickly come to love the sacrament of Reconciliation once they get over their nameless fears—fears which come from a misconception of what the sacrament really is. Confession, Penance & Reconciliation The sacrament of Reconciliation is also known as Penance and Confession, among other names. (There is an explanation of some of these names in the Catechism's section on the sacrament of Reconciliation.) Although often called Reconciliation in common usage, the term "penance" best describes the essential interior disposition required for this sacrament. In fact, there is a virtue o…

The Sacrament of Holy Orders

Priests of the New Sacrifice The sacrament of Holy Orders creates a priest. There's a little more to it than that, of course. As the Catechism's section on Holy Orders says: this "is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees"—the orders of bishop, priest, and deacon. (Catechism, 1536) But to keep things simple, let's start with the priest. The priesthood & the sacrifice To know what a priest is we have to know what a sacrifice is. Nowadays the word "sacrifice" is used in many different ways. But in its strict meaning, its original meaning, a sacrifice is the offering of a gift to God by a group, through the agency of someone who has the right to represent the group. The purpose of such an offering is to give group worship to God; that is, to acknowledge God's supreme lordship o…

The Anointing of the Sick

Comfort and Healing The Anointing of the Sick is a remarkable sign of God's great love for us. In his merciful efforts to bring us safely to himself in heaven, God seems to have gone to the very limit. Jesus has given us the sacrament of Baptism, in which original sin and all pre-Baptismal sins are cleansed from the soul. Allowing for mankind's spiritual weakness, Jesus also gave us the sacrament of Penance, by which post-Baptismal sins could be forgiven. As though he were impatient lest a soul be delayed a single instant from its entry into heaven, Jesus gave to his Church the power to remit the temporal punishment due to sin, a power which the Church exercises in the granting of indulgences. Finally, as though to make doubly sure that no one, except through his own deliberate fault, would lose heaven or even spend time in purgatory, Jesus instituted the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. A special sacrament for the sick & suffering The Catechism of the Catholic Church&#…