The Jewels of the faith – PART TWO – Jan 29
As we continue our reflection on the sacred jewels of our faith, we must acknowledge that an article such as this only touches the tip of the iceberg. Each “jewel” should be explored throughout our lifetime so as to allow the work of God to be done in our lives and by extension our world. As the reign of God comes alive in our own hearts, it spreads and so reigns in the world.
The Eucharistic DVDs
To help us with this exploration, two DVDs on The Eucharist have been produced to aid in the revitalisation process this year. These DVDs feature four talks on four different aspects of the Eucharist. These talks on the theme are done by four excellent speakers: Fr Steve Duncan, Msgr Michael de Verteuil, Bishop Jason Gordon and Archbishop Joseph Harris. These DVDs are already in each parish and it is hoped that each person will view these DVDs and be open to transformation through the reflections presented. Be sure to contact your parish priest or parish office to know when the DVDs will be presented in your parish.
The seven sacraments of the Church are real gifts to help us in our fallen human state. The sacraments are the lifeblood of the Church. God’s love for us is so magnificent that God always searches for a way to be with us to strengthen us through every human difficulty. The effect of original sin is that sin is more attractive and easier for us than what is good. The only way to overcome this effect is through the power of God at work in us. This is called grace and is a free gift from God. Through the grace of God we overcome sin.
A sacrament is an outward sign of this inner grace that God gives us within the Church. Our sacramental life must be integrated into all aspects of our life. Sacramental life must be taken seriously. The sacraments are like nutrients to sustain us on the Christian journey. We must not let them be “just ritual”. The sacraments signify the power of God at work within.
Through the grace of baptism we now belong to the family of God where we will be taught and supported in life as a believer in Jesus Christ. It is also a sacrament of mission, mission as priest, prophet and king. Through baptism we share in the ministry of Jesus who was priest, prophet and king. The symbols of water, oil, light and the white garment are powerful symbols to keep before us daily as Catholics. God delivers us, transforms us, washes us, strengthens us and dwells within us. It is important for us to keep this light of Christ burning brightly within us. It is also important for us to take our baptismal vows seriously and live them each moment of our lives. The gift of God’s grace has been given to us when we were baptised. We must be committed to live it.
Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation
Reconciliation is one of the most important sacraments and must be utilised regularly. It is a sacrament of love, healing and strength. When we confess our sins in the sacrament of reconciliation we are not just telling our sins to a human person, but we are encountering Jesus in the persona Christi of the priest. The absolution given to us is from Christ Himself and heals our souls and even our bodies from the effects of sin.
Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are closely tied together as sacraments of initiation into the family of God, the Church. Through regular participation in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist and constant renewal of our Confirmation promises we begin to live a life in Christ.
Marriage and Holy Order – Sacraments of Vocation
These sacraments are very important to the Church and to us as individuals. The family is the basic cell of society and so families cannot be replaced by any other institution where individuals and their development are concerned. The sacrament of Matrimony helps couples enter into a sacred covenant relationship with each other that is permanent. A covenant relationship cannot be undone. The grace of this sacrament helps parents to be the kind of parents they ought to be.
The sacrament of Holy Order allows those called to the priesthood and the permanent diaconate to share in the sacred ministry of Christ in a special way.
Anointing of the Sick
This special sacrament allows the sick to be strengthened as well as to be reconciled to God. At every stage of our life God calls us to Godself and God uses this sacrament to offer us a chance of repentance. Many times we need this sacrament and it is advisable that we be anointed whenever we are suffering serious illness or undergoing surgery.
Bernadette Gopaul-Ramkhalawan, VCC/CERO South/Central Archdiocesan Catechetical Office
Next week – Part 3