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The Postmodern Catholic

Unit III The Sacraments
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The Sacraments

n      The primary way the Church maintains its holiness is through preserving and passing on the sacraments

n      The Sacraments are visible, physical signs of invisible grace

n      Each of the sacraments bring us closer to God and each other

n      The sacraments are all meant to bring us into community and communion with each other and with God



n      Sacrament of Initiation

n      Joins a person to Christ and the Church

n      The basis of Christian life

n      Personal faith not enough.  We have to be in relationship to each other

n      Gateway to life in the Spirit

n      Gives access to all other sacraments

n      Cleanses person of original sin

n      Usually done soon after birth, but can be preformed at any time in life.

n      Baptism of water is necessary for our salvation

n      You can be baptized in water, blood, and desire


Baptism of Blood

n      Baptism of blood is when someone has not been baptized of water and dies for Jesus.

n      Babies who die before being baptized with water are the most common example

n      Martyrdom (dying for one’s belief in Christ) is the other way to be baptized in blood


Baptism of desire: when someone believes in an almighty being and they try very hard to serve them in any way they can

n      For good, god-loving people who are not Catholic or Christian


n      Baptism grants us the grace to enter  Heaven

n      When we are baptized, we are called to be part of God’s mystery which is his plan for the salvation of all people.

n      You can only be baptized once because it leaves a permanent mark upon the soul.

n      We as a people must make sure that we treasure this gift for the rest of our lives


The Eucharist

n      The word Eucharist comes from the Greek eucharistein, which means to “give thanks”

n      It is a sacrament of initiation

n      It is the sacrament from which flows all other sacraments

n      As the physical presence, or Body of Christ, the Eucharist is the holiest thing on earth

n      Jesus did not institute the Eucharist to change bread and wine into his body and blood, but to change us into his body.  The Mass is not meant to transform elements, but to transform people.  When he said, “Behold I am with you always, until the end of the world”, Jesus was not referring to his real presence in the Eucharist: he was referring to his real presence in his people, the members of his body”.  Gerald Martin, in Robert Kennedy’s Zen’s Gifts to Christians (2000)

n      Saint Augustine tells us that in the end there will be only one Christ loving himself.  And when he was bishop of Hippo, he would hold up the Eucharist at liturgies and exhort his Christian followers to come and ‘receive what you are’: not what you could be, or will be, but what you are”. 

                                                From Robert Kennedy’s Zen Gifts to Christians (2000).

n      Belief that Jesus is truly and substantially here on earth through the Eucharist

n      Found in the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist

n      Because of this, the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life

n      Every action  of the Church motivated by grace is tied to this sacrifice

Mystery of Transubstantiation

n      By the power of the Holy Spirit acting through Jesus Christ, the substance of the bread and wine is changed into the Body and Blood of Christ

n      Because the sacrifice of Christ allows people to be saved, the Eucharist is at the center of Catholicism

n      The Eucharist is believed to be one and the same with Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross

n      It stands as the greatest proof of God’s love

n      When we receive the Eucharist, Christ becomes one with us

n      It is a reminder to us to return this love by imitating Christ in thoughts, word, and deed.

n      Christ is made present among us by the power of his Word and of the Holy Spirit

Fruits of Regular Reception of Eucharist

n      Increased union and awareness of the Christ within

n      Reinforces the unity of the Church

n      Removes venial sin

n      Lowers sinful love of self

n      Strengthens against temptation



n      Also known as Reconciliation, Confession, and Sacrament of Conversion 

n      Meant as a remedy against our tendency to sin

n      Although Baptism cleaned us of Original Sin, it did not destroy our weaknesses toward sin known as concupiscence

n      Reconciliation involves an examination of con-science

n      We think about our recent sins:

n      Two types:

        Venial and mortal


n      Only a priest can dispense the sacrament of Penance

n      We profess our faith while reciting the Act of Contrition.

n      When we are in Penance, the Priest absolves us from our sins.

n      During Penance, we may also ask for help in a specific area you are having trouble with in your life.



n      Divorce rates in the United States now over 50%.  For Catholics? Same

n      Joins a man and woman in a covenant for life, for the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children

        (MK 10:6-9)

n      Marriage as sacrament reflects the idea that in marriage, Christ can be encountered in new, more meaningful ways

n      Matrimony also signifies the union of Christ and his Church.

n      Marriage between two Catholic faithful can take place during Holy Mass.

n      This highlights the connection to the Eucharist as both partake of the Body of Christ


Holy Orders

n      Sacrament of service

n      Sacrament meant to provide ministers of service

n      It supports a hierarchical political structure

n      Ministers:





n      Highest level of Holy Orders

n      Can ordain deacons, priests

n      Are successors to the apostles

n      Members of the College of Bishops

n      Together, they represent the authoritative teaching voice of the church (Magisterium)


n      Role is to assist and obey the bishop

n      Administer all the Sacraments, even that of Confirmation when so authorized


n      Are ministers of the gospel but cannot consecrate the Eucharist or hear confession

n      All (bishop, priest, and deacon), are believed to be blessed by the Holy Spirit                                                      


Anointing of the Sick

n      The Anointing of the Sick is administered to bring spiritual and even physical strength during an illness, especially near the time of death.

n      It is most likely one of the last sacraments one will receive.

Effects of Sacrament

n      This sacrament is meant to unite a sick person to the passion of Christ.

n      It also is meant to forgive the sins of the person is they have not received the sacrament of penance.

n      If death is imminent, then this sacrament will prepare them for passing over to eternal life.

n      It gives the sick person strength, peace and courage to endure the suffering of old age in a Christian manner.

n      The Anointing of the Sick may even help to cure the sick person or help them to get better.

When Administered?

n      The Anointing of the Sick does not necessarily have to be applied to only those who are about to die.

n      This sacrament can be performed when a person becomes sick or even when a person becomes old, or if someone is in danger of dying.

n      Again, sacrament is meant to help individual better identify with the suffering of Christ and the promise such suffering means to the Catholic



nUsing and describing at least four of the sacraments (including Baptism and the Eucharist), explain how the sacraments make God’s presence more real in your everyday life.  How does this effect your actions and decisions in life?
nYou will be graded on how well you use the notes given. Two pages

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D. “The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone” Thomas Merton