Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

My Photo
Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

"The Masterworks of God"

The further in time and distance one gets from the Early Church, the more the sacraments are one by one jettisoned from the Barc of Peter by the post-reformation churches. They believe they are setting themselves free of what they see as "encumbrances and weights" that beset them. In my evangelical experience, I don't believe we had any sacraments left that we spoke of. Baptism was symbolic, communion was a memorial only and there was no confirmation, unless you consider the baptism in the Holy Spirit to be analogous to that.
The loss of sacraments over the generations has left a void in the churches that has to be filled by something. In medical school they told us that nature abhors a vacuum and I have thirty years of experience observing how this vacuum was filled in our non-Catholic churches. The "worship and praise" segment of evangelical services could be considered an unspoken sacrament in a sense, because this was considered the time when God was reaching down and touching us in the service. It doesn't exactly meet the Catholic definition of a Sacrament but you get the picture. In other churches, the expositing of Scripture for 45- 50 minutes is their "unspoken Sacrament." Some churches have both in one service. So with the vacancy left by no longer having the true sacraments ordained by Christ, other things must take their place.

True sacraments are not a burden, but a joy. They are the way we get closer to Jesus and experience His wonder working power in our lives. Would you be free from your burden of sin? Yes I would!
Through the wonder working power of the blood of Christ applied through the sacrament of Baptism, Confession, and the Eucharist. (interestingly, the Catholic Church accepts the validity of any baptism from any other Christian faith as long it was done with the proper form and matter)

The most powerful thing I have seen is in the Easter Vigil when the Church takes in the new catechumens. There is so much grace flowing that, as we used to say in the olden days "the Holy Spirit is all over the place." On that evening some folks are getting baptized, confirmed and receiving the Eucharist all in one evening!

The riches of Christ are communicated to all the members of the body through the sacraments! (to paraphrase the Catechism)(947) Sacraments are "powers that comes forth" from the Body of Christ,33 which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are "the masterworks of God" in the new and everlasting covenant (1116)

So the sacraments don't supplant Christ's work, they are the very way in which He applies His grace to us.

BTW, I found a new blog that has some points that recently came up in the comments on my post about the Pillar and Foundation of Truth. Check out Saint Under Construction
Saint has an excellent post describing how we come to salvation. He makes the excellent point that Catholics have the ability to see things in a both/and manner vs either/or. This was one of the first turning points for me when I saw this important paradigm for understanding Catholicism.


Post a Comment