God has revealed Himself to the world through His son Jesus Christ. St. Paul says, “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth (Colossians 1:15-16).” So, once we have found the truth of who God is, then we must respond to His call. We are called to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind. And through that love for Him, we are then asked to show that love to everyone around us. But, for many Christians today, the aspect of a personal relationship with our Lord seems to be the only focus. What is the Catholic Church’s view about our relationship with Christ?
For the Catholic, unlike most Protestants who seeks a personal relationship with Christ, we seek a relationship with Christ that is both personal and communal. Being Catholic means being connected. Connected not only to Jesus, but to the body of Christ, his Church. The wisdom of being connected is most powerfully symbolized in the Eucharist, the central sacrament of the Catholic faith. If we understand the Eucharist correctly, we understand that we are not alone. God is with us in the Eucharist, and we need only to open ourselves up to God’s presence to experience it in the prayers and Scripture readings of the Mass, and especially in Holy Communion. In the Eucharist, we do not receive the sacramental bread and wine alone. We receive it at a sacred meal with others. We all partake of one sacrament, one Body of Christ, and in doing so we are saying that we are willing to be one Body of Christ.
Why does the Catholic Church emphasize the sacraments so much?
We believe that, just as people 2000 years ago came in contact with God when they allowed themselves to be touched by Jesus, people today come in contact with God when they are touched by water and oil and human hands. We put something as simple and as basic as a meal of bread and wine at the center of our worship. The Eucharist is the Catholic way of saying that the way to God is not primarily through private meditation but through sharing food with one another. Our worship, the liturgy of the Mass, is a communal celebration of a down-to-earth reality. We are sharing the life of Christ with one another.
In the death and resurrection of Jesus, God reveals the secret of our redemption. Because Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God, then He is the fundamental sacrament of God. He is the greatest sign of God’s love and presence in the world. The sacramentality of Jesus did not end with the ascension, however. It continues in the Catholic Church which, since the days of St. Paul, has been called the body of Christ. The Church is basically a sacrament of God in the world.
The Catholic Church is Sacramental
1.) A sacrament is a sign of God’s goodness to us. Catholic wisdom says that the world and everything in it is a gift from God and a sign of God.
2.) The seven sacraments we celebrate in church use water and oil, bread and wine, and human touch as signs of God’s graciousness.
3.) Catholics see God shining through all of creation, and so the Church uses the gifts of creation in its most important rituals.
4.) The seven sacraments are: Baptism, Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick.
Until next time, God bless.