Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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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.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Sacraments Make The Church

                                     (double click the image above)
Catholics believe that Sacraments were instituted by Christ himself and for the first 1500 years of  Christianity were considered to be the normative way of accessing God’s grace and being apprehended by Him.  Even non-Catholic Church historians (J. Kelly, Schaff) describe early  Christian belief as sacramental. The writings of the Early Church Fathers,  particularly on baptism and the Eucharist show a consensus regarding the sacramental nature of their belief system.

For me as a Catholic, I experience Jesus in the sacraments. The  sacraments are the way in which Catholic Christians experience God. The  Church refers to them as the masterworks of God.  Can I experience Him outside the sacraments? Sure, and for 31 years  as an evangelical I did, but as a Catholic Christian I feel like my connection to God has been enhanced. Why does he choose to use the stuff of earth to convey His  grace? I don’t know but I think the answer  lies in the mystery of the  Incarnation.

The grace I receive from the sacraments are the result of my interacting with Jesus himself. Jesus is operative in the sacraments and through  the Holy Spirit, he pours his grace out to me in a powerful way I never experienced before I was Catholic. When I receive the Eucharist, I am touching God, he is touching me and allowing me to be consumed by him and he consumes me.  
   When I go to confession, I “whisper in the ear of God”, and Christ  forgives me my sins through a man . The priest doesn't forgive sins, but Christ operating through him does with the authority given to him from Christ himself. The blood of the Cross shed once and for all is applied to me through the working of grace in the confessional.  If we are of the proper disposition, meaning we believe and have faith and are docile  to the work of the Holy Spirit, our lives change. If we receive the sacraments without faith, just going through the motions as “cultural  Catholics” do, they miss out on His grace .

 Read what the Church says about the sacraments from the Catechism of the Catholic 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,”35 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.

1123 The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the  Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. Because they are  signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words  and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it. That is why  they are called ‘sacraments of faith.’44

1127 Celebrated worthily in faith, the sacraments confer the grace that  they signify.48 They are efficacious because in them Christ himself is  at work: it is he who baptizes, he who acts in his sacraments in order  to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies. The Father  always hears the prayer of his Son’s Church which, in the epiclesis of  each sacrament, expresses her faith in the power of the Spirit. As fire  transforms into itself everything it touches, so the Holy Spirit  transforms into the divine life whatever is subjected to his power."

Faith is a vital part of the “sacramental economy” and without faith  it is impossible to please God. This is what the Church teaches.


Anonymous Renée said...

"As fire transforms into itself everything it touches, so the Holy Spirit transforms into the divine life whatever is subjected to his power."

That sends shivers down my spine!

July 03, 2013 10:23 PM  

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