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SACRAMENTAL THEOLOGY. Some Preliminary Thoughts The Sacraments are about 2 things in general: God communicating Himself to mankind Mankind offering worship.

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Presentation on theme: "SACRAMENTAL THEOLOGY. Some Preliminary Thoughts The Sacraments are about 2 things in general: God communicating Himself to mankind Mankind offering worship."— Presentation transcript:


2 Some Preliminary Thoughts The Sacraments are about 2 things in general: God communicating Himself to mankind Mankind offering worship to the Living God

3 Preliminary Thoughts: God’s Communication of Himself God’s relationship to man is always sacramental A visible sign of an invisible reality Sacraments are necessary because we are both: Body and Soul Material and Immaterial Visible and Invisible

4 Preliminary Thoughts: God’s Communication of Himself Because God is invisible, God chose to use visible signs to make Himself “visible” and thus make communication with us easier Jesus Christ: the Sacrament of the Father The Catholic Church: the Sacrament of Jesus Christ 7 Sacraments: signs by which the Church brings the power of Jesus Christ into my life

5 Preliminary Thoughts: God’s Communication of Himself Necessary (and obvious) assumption: creation, because it is good, can lead us to God Opposed to creation as a product of chance (atheistic evolution) Opposed to creation as evil (Plato) or result of violence of gods (ancient pagans)

6 Preliminary Thoughts: God’s Communication of Himself From new blessing for Baptismal Water (Easter Vigil): O God, whose Spirit in the first moments of the world's creation hovered over the waters, so that the very substance of water would even then take to itself the power to sanctify From the beginning, God made matter an instrument of grace

7 Preliminary Thoughts: God’s Communication of Himself God is present throughout our lives; we are never outside the scope of God’s saving action The cycle of my life is brought up and lived tied to the Sacraments from birth to death Birth – Baptism Maturing – Confession, M. H. Eucharist, Confirmation Embracing lifelong commitment – Marriage, Holy Orders Death – Anointing of the Sick, Viaticum, Funeral Mass

8 Preliminary Thoughts: Worshipping the Living God The Exodus…2 Goals? Reaching the Promised Land Let my people go that they may serve me in the wilderness (Ex7:16, 8:1, 9:1, 9:13, 10:3) B16: Moses cannot negotiate about the liturgy with a foreign power, nor can he subject worship to any form of political compromise…[W]orship…can only take place according to God’s measure and therefore eludes the rules of the game of political compromise. NOW, read Ex10:3-11

9 3 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the L ORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. 4 For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, 5 and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field, 6 and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh. 7 Then Pharaoh's servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the L ORD their God. Do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. And he said to them, “Go, serve the L ORD your God. But which ones are to go?” 9 Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the L ORD.” 10 But he said to them, “The L ORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. [a] 11 No! Go, the men among you, and serve the L ORD, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.a

10 Preliminary Thoughts: Worshipping the Living God To serve God, they MUST go into the wilderness God has COMMANDED that the proper place of worship is the desert (Ex8:27) To serve God, the whole people must go into the desert Current practice was that only men should worship To serve God, all the livestock must go We do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there (Ex10:26)

11 Preliminary Thoughts: Worshipping the Living God What happens at Sinai? Worship Receiving of the 10 Commandments / the Law of the people of God B16: The land is given to the people to be a place for the worship of the true God…Worship, that is, the right kind of…relationship with God, is essential for the right kind of human existence in the world.

12 Preliminary Thoughts: Worshipping the Living God Ex25: 1-9  What is happening?  What is the most important point of this passage?  B16: Man himself cannot simply “make” worship. If God does not reveal Himself, man is clutching empty space.  B16: In any form, liturgy includes some kind of “institution.” It cannot spring from imagination, our own creativity – then it would remain just a cry in the dark or mere affirmation. What happens when the people disobey?

13 The L ORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. 3 And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4 blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats' hair, 5 tanned rams' skins, goatskins, [a] acacia wood, 6 oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7 onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. 8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.a

14 Foundation of the “Sacrament” Under the ancient forms of worship, there were specific rituals that needed to be performed Noah’s sacrifice after the flood recedes Abraham & circumcision Exodus 24 – Moses & Israel

15 Foundation of the “Sacrament” Originally, referred to as mysteries We are “stewards of the mysteries of Christ” (1Cor4:1) St. Ignatius: “deacons are ministers of the mysteries of Jesus Christ” Greek: St. Paul speaks of “mysterion” of God's love First used in reference to pagan mystery cults that had secret rituals. Christianized to meant that one is unable to fully understand the reality of God’s hidden plan to renew everything in Christ  Something that cannot be fully understood, but rather leads to wonder & awe

16 Foundation of the “Sacrament” “Sacrament” comes from St. Jerome Meant to distinguish the Church from the ancient pagan rites known as “mysteries” Latin: sacramentum, which meant a sacred pledge or an oath sworn by men on entering the Roman military Christians: pledge of life to Christ

17 Foundation of the “Sacrament” This swearing of the sacramentum changed the status of the man entirely. He was now utterly subject to his general’s authority, and had thereby laid down any restraints of his former civilian life. His actions would be by the will of the general… There was more than mere practicality behind the change from the white toga of the citizen to the blood red tunic of the legionary…Now he was a soldier. The legionary could only be released from the sacramentum by two things: death or demobilization. Without the sacramentum, however, the Roman could not be a soldier. The camp the legionaries built every night while they were on the march fulfilled more than just the function of protecting the soldiers from attacks by night. For it maintained the Roman understanding of order; it didn't merely keep army discipline, but set the soldiers apart from the barbarians they fought. It reinforced their being Roman. Barbarians might sleep wherever they laid themselves down like animals. But not Romans.

18 Foundation of the “Sacrament” No longer being civilians, but soldiers, the diet had to be as hardy as their lifestyle. Wheat, frumentum, was what the soldier received to eat each day, come rain, come shine. If it was monotonous, then it was also what the soldiers demanded. It was deemed good, hardy and pure. For just as with their attitudes toward their nightly encampment, the Romans saw the food they ate as soldiers as a symbol which set them apart from barbarians. If barbarians filled their bellies with meat and alcohol before battle, then the Romans kept to their stark rations. They had discipline, inner strength. To deny them their frumentum was to think of them as barbarians. In the Roman mind the legionary was a tool, a machine. Though it possessed dignity and honor, it abandoned its will to its commander. It ate and drank only in order to function. It required no pleasure. This machine would feel nothing and flinch from nothing.

19 Foundation of the “Sacrament” Pliny on the Sunday worship of Christians: They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, adultery, never to falsify their word, not to deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up. Afterward, it was their custom to…partake of food, but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.

20 Definition of a Sacrament A visible sign of an invisible reality An outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace

21 An outward sign… Signs Represent something else (ex. words) Make visible what’s invisible at the moment (ex. flag) Reveal something about the object it represents  50 stars represent 50 states; red for blood shed, white for purity, blue symbolizing heaven Conceal more about the object represented  The nation of which the flag is a sign remains mysteriously hidden

22 An outward sign… In Greek, symbolon was a token of identity verified by comparing it to its other half. In the Sacraments, the sign brings together the physical reality with the spiritual

23 An outward sign… Matter The essential symbol/gesture of the Sacrament NOTE: it’s NOT always physical stuff Form The word/prayer/formula which determines the purpose of the matter Minister – one who possesses authority & power to administer the Sacrament as the Church intends Ordinary vs. Extra-ordinary ministers Recipient – one to whom the Sacrament is administered, must be careful NOT to place an obstacle in the way of the Sacrament

24 What’s the Matter? Matter / Symbol / Gesture Baptism – water poured on the head Confirmation – anointing w/Sacred Chrism M. H. Eucharist – wheat bread & grape wine Confession  “Quasi-matter”: Contrition, Confession, and Satisfaction Anointing of the Sick – anointing w/ blessed oil (& laying on of hands) Marriage – the man and the woman Holy Orders – laying on of hands by the bishop

25 What’s the Form? Form(ula) / Words Baptism  N. I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit Confirmation  N., be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit M. H. Eucharist – the Words of Consecration Confession  Words of Absolution: I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father… Anointing of the Sick  By this holy anointing, may the Lord in His love and mercy, help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin, save you and raise you up. Marriage – vows exchanged by husband and wife Holy Orders – consecratory prayer

26 Who’s the Minister? Minister Baptism – ordinarily, a deacon + (deacon, priest, bishop)  In an emergency, anyone (even an atheist!) who does what the Church does with the Church’s intention Confirmation – Bishop (original minister)  In the East: Bishop (ordinary); priest (extraordinary)  In the West: Bishop (original); priest (ordinary) M. H. Eucharist – priest+ (priest & bishop) Confession – priest+ Anointing of the Sick – priest+ Marriage – the man and the woman Holy Orders – Bishop (3 bishops when ordaining a bishop)

27 Who’s the Recipient? Recipient Baptism – an unbaptized person Confirmation – a baptized, unconfirmed Catholic M. H. Eucharist – a Catholic in a state of grace Confession – a contrite Catholic, who has examined his/her conscience Anointing of the Sick – a Catholic who is in remote danger of death (elderly, those with a serious illness, those about to undergo surgery with anesthetic) Marriage – a man & a woman who are free to marry Holy Orders – an unmarried man not previously ordained

28 An outward sign…: Efficacy Efficacy of the Sacraments Like a stop sign that actually stops you The Sacraments “effect what they signify” What do they signify? Washing, strengthening, communion with God, forgiveness, strengthening in sickness, union of a man and a woman, consecrating of a man for a sacred task

29 An outward sign…: Efficacy Ex opere operato (by the work worked) The primary minister is Christ The lack of worthiness on the part of the minister does not hinder the grace of the Sacraments  What’s highlighted here is Christ’s acting/work in the Sacraments When Peter baptizes, it is Christ Who baptizes…When Judas baptizes, it is Christ Who baptizes. – St. Augustine

30 An outward sign…: Efficacy Ex opere operato (by the work worked) Those whom a drunkard baptized, those whom a murderer baptized, those whom an adulterer baptized, if it was the baptism of Christ, were baptized by Christ. – St. Augustine All true UNLESS the recipient puts up an obstacle

31 An outward sign…: Efficacy Ex opere operantis (by the work of the worker) The recipient MUST respond to the gift given Sacraments are effective in conferring grace, but fruitfulness IS dependent on the recipient and on how well the minister prepares the recipient  Ex. 5 men are ordained priests, but each is more or less open to the graces offered & is able to use the grace more or less effectively.

32 An outward sign…: Efficacy Ex opere operantis (by the work of the worker) Disposition of the minister has a profound impact on the disposition of the recipient  A priest in mortal sin could celebrate Mass, but how much it helps the faithful is limited because he is separated from Christ  St. John Vianney You have a job to do: “full, active, conscious participation”

33 …instituted by Christ… Christ DIRECTLY instituted the Sacraments  As the Savior of the human race it falls w/in His power to communicate that grace  Christ alone has power to communicate that grace by his own chosen means COUNCIL of TRENT: Canon 1. If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, or that there are more or less than seven, namely, baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, order and matrimony, or that any one of these seven is not truly and intrinsically a sacrament, let him be anathema.

34 …instituted by Christ… Baptism – Matthew28:19 Confirmation John 16:7-15; Acts 8:17, 19:6 Eucharist Luke 22:19, Matthew 26:26, John 6:53 Reconciliation John 20:21-23 (“principally” – word of Trent) Anointing of the Sick Mark 6:13 (“alluded to” – words of Trent); James 5:14ff (promulgated by James) Holy Orders – Luke 22:19, 2Timothy 1:6, 2:2 Marriage John 2:1-11 (raised to the level of a Sacrament); Matthew 19:3-9, Ephesians 5:25

35 …to give grace GRACE – God’s life living within us SANCTIFYING GRACE – semi-permanent (unless we kick it out) Every Sacrament has a special grace attached to it Baptism – removal of all sin, incorporation into the Body of Christ, and becoming children of God and Temple of the Holy Spirit Confirmation – strengthening the whole person with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the Faith by word and deed and to never be ashamed of the Cross (if necessary, martyrdom) Eucharist – charity leading to unity of the recipient with Jesus Christ and His Church, which is the Body of Christ

36 …to give grace Every Sacrament has a special grace attached to it Matrimony – making the two one flesh and strengthening them to live as faithful spouses and parents Holy Orders – a configuring to the priesthood of Jesus Christ Anointing – bodily strengthening for the sake of enduring suffering and death without abandoning God Confession – reconciling one to God and His Church if necessary, and enabling one to live a life of penance and avoid sins in the future

37 …to give grace: Sacramental Character A word on tattoos… Consider rubber bracelets – LiveStrong still on b/c of a personal relationship We want tattoos because we want something close to us to tell us (& others) about us – something close to our hearts

38 …to give grace: Sacramental Character A word on tattoos… What really sums you up best?  Child of God, image & likeness of God, redeemed by Blood of Christ, destined for eternal life  This you have already received at your Baptism – a tattoo/brand – permanent, indelible, irremovable

39 …to give grace: Sacramental Character SACRAMENTAL CHARACTER: a special gift 3 Sacraments only: Baptism, Confirmation, & Holy Orders Sphragis (Greek) – a brandmark left on a person’s flesh when he is branded (ex. soldier, sheep)  External sign of soldier belonging to the Roman army is taken up by the Fathers  A mark left on the person at their deepest center  Thru Baptism, one becomes slave of divine Master, soldier of Christ in his army, a sheep in Good Shepherd’s flock

40 …to give grace: Sacramental Character SACRAMENTAL CHARACTER: a special gift Once it is impressed it cannot be lost B/c of the character/indelible mark, these Sacraments may never be repeated 4 Characteristics of the Character  Distinguish, configure, dispose, oblige

41 …to give grace: Sacramental Character 4 Characteristics of the Character Distinguish – we are set apart from others who have not received this Sacrament  Baptism – now a child of God  Confirmation – now a witness to Christ  Holy Orders – now a Sacramental priest Configure – we are made more like Christ in a new way  Baptism – to act more like a child after the Son’s model  Confirmation – to spread and defend the Faith like Christ  Holy Orders – to teach, govern, and sanctify like Christ

42 …to give grace: Sacramental Character 4 Characteristics of the Character Dispose – we are enabled to do what we are meant to do as a result of receiving the Sacrament  Baptism – to cooperate with grace to become holy  Confirmation – to help others become holy  Holy Orders – to offer Sacrifice/sacrifice Oblige – we are given a task to accomplish as a result  Baptism – to live as a child of God  Confirmation – to live as a witness  Holy Orders – to live as a priest of Jesus Christ

43 Sacramentals Outward signs… …instituted by the Church… Sacramentals have many elements of the Sacraments and can be traced back to one of the Sacraments Sacramentals not instituted by Christ and do not confer grace in same way as the Sacraments  Ex opere operantis …to give grace

44 Sacramentals Blessings, Rosaries, Bibles, Way of the Cross, Indulgences, Exorcism (a powerful form of Sacramentals – CCC, 1673) Sacramentals dispose us to receive grace or benefit from its work and/or from the Sacraments

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