Sunday, July 31, 2016

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 175.

YOUCAT Question n. 175 - Why do the sacraments belong to the Church? Why cannot anyone use them however he wants?    

(Youcat answer) Sacraments are Christ’s gift to his Church. It is her duty to administer them and to protect them from misuse.         

A deepening through CCC       

(CCC 1117) As she has done for the canon of Sacred Scripture and for the doctrine of the faith, the Church, by the power of the Spirit who guides her "into all truth," has gradually recognized this treasure received from Christ and, as the faithful steward of God's mysteries, has determined its "dispensation" (Jn 16:13; cf. Mt 13:52; 1Cor 4:1). Thus the Church has discerned over the centuries that among liturgical celebrations there are seven that are, in the strict sense of the term, sacraments instituted by the Lord.        

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) Jesus entrusted his words and signs to specific men, namely, the apostles, who were to hand them on; he did not hand them over to an anonymous crowd. Today we would say: He did not post his inheritance on the Internet for free access but rather registered it under a domain name. Sacraments exist for the Church and through the Church. They are for her, because the Body of Christ, which is the Church, is established, nourished, and perfected through the sacraments. They exist through her, because the sacraments are the power of Christ’s Body, for example in confession, where Christ forgives our sins through the priest.    

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 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" (St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 22, 17: PL 41, 779; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 64, 2 ad 3), 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.          

(The next question is: Which sacraments can be received only once in a lifetime?)      

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 174.

YOUCAT Question n. 174 - Why is faith in Jesus Christ not enough? Why does God give us the sacraments, too?      

(Youcat answer) We can and should come to God with all our senses, not just with the intellect. That is why God gives himself to us in earthly signs—especially in bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ.          

A deepening through CCC     

(CCC 1146) Signs of the human world. In human life, signs and symbols occupy an important place. As a being at once body and spirit, man expresses and perceives spiritual realities through physical signs and symbols. As a social being, man needs signs and symbols to communicate with others, through language, gestures, and actions. The same holds true for his relationship with God.  (CCC 1147) God speaks to man through the visible creation. The material cosmos is so presented to man's intelligence that he can read there traces of its Creator (Cf. Wis 13:1; Rom 1:19 f; Acts 14:17). Light and darkness, wind and fire, water and earth, the tree and its fruit speak of God and symbolize both his greatness and his nearness.       

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) People saw Jesus, heard him, could touch him and thereby experience salvation and healing in body and soul. The ensible signs of the sacraments show this same signature of God, who desires to address the whole man—not just his head.    

(CCC Comment)

 (CCC 1148) Inasmuch as they are creatures, these perceptible realities can become means of expressing the action of God who sanctifies men, and the action of men who offer worship to God. The same is true of signs and symbols taken from the social life of man: washing and anointing, breaking bread and sharing the cup can express the sanctifying presence of God and man's gratitude toward his Creator.         

(The next question is: Why do the sacraments belong to the Church? Why cannot anyone use them however he wants?)      

Friday, July 29, 2016

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 173.

YOUCAT Question n. 173 - Why do we need sacraments in the first place?   

(Youcat answer) We need sacraments in order to outgrow our petty human life and to become like Jesus through Jesus: children of God in freedom and glory.       

A deepening through CCC

(CCC 1129) The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation (Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1604). "Sacramental grace" is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature (Cf. 2 Pet 1:4) by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.      

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) In Baptism the fallen children of men become cherished children of God; through Confirmation the weak become strong, committed Christians; through Penance the guilty are reconciled; through the Eucharist the hungry become bread for others; through Matrimony and Holy Orders individualists become servants of love; through the Anointing of the Sick the despairing become people of confidence. The sacrament in all the sacraments is Christ himself. In him we men, lost in seLfishness, grow and mature into the true Life that has no end.     

 (CCC Comment)    

(CCC 2003) Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning "favor," "gratuitous gift," "benefit" (Cf. LG 12). Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church (Cf. 1 Cor 12).       

(The next question is: Why is faith in Jesus Christ not enough? Why does God give us the sacraments, too?)  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 172 .

YOUCAT Question n. 172 - How many sacraments are there, and what are their names?      

(Youcat answer) The Church has seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.       

A deepening through CCC     

(CCC 1210) Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: (Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 65, 1): they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.       

Reflecting and meditating 

(CCC Comment)   

(CCC 1113) The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments (Cf. SC 6). There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony (Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274): DS 860; Council of Florence (1439): DS 1310; Council of Trent (1547): DS 1601). This article will discuss what is common to the Church's seven sacraments from a doctrinal point of view.     
(The next question is: Why do we need sacraments in the first place?)  

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 171.

YOUCAT Question n. 171 - What is the essence of every liturgy?      

(Youcat answer) Liturgy is always in the first place communion or fellowship with Jesus Christ. Every liturgy, not just the celebration of the Eucharist, is an Easter in miniature. Jesus reveals his passage from death to life and celebrates it with us.        

A deepening through CCC      

(CCC 1085) In the liturgy of the Church, it is principally his own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present. During his earthly life Jesus announced his Paschal mystery by his teaching and anticipated it by his actions. When his Hour comes, he lives out the unique event of history which does not pass away: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father "once for all" (Rom 6:10; Heb 7:27; 9:12; cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1). His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is - all that he did and suffered for all men - participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.       

Reflecting and meditating 

(Youcat comment) The most important Liturgy in the world was the Paschal Liturgy that Jesus celebrated with his disciples in the Upper Room on the night before his death. The disciples thought that Jesus would be commemorating the liberation of Israel from Egypt. Instead, Jesus celebrated the liberation of all mankind from the power of death. Back in Egypt it was the “blood of the Lamb” that preserved the IsraeLites from the angel of death. Now he himself would be the Lamb whose blood saves mankind from death. For Jesus’ death and Resurrection is the proof that someone can die and nevertheless gain life. This is the genuine substance of every Christian liturgy. Jesus himself compared his death and Resurrection with Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt. Therefore, the redemptive effect of Jesus’ death and Resurrection is called the Paschal mystery. There is an analogy between the life-saving blood of the Lamb at the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt (Ex 12) and Jesus, the true Paschal Lamb that has redeemed mankind from the bondage of death and sin.   

(CCC Comment)

(CCC 1084) "Seated at the right hand of the Father" and pouring out the Holy Spirit on his Body which is the Church, Christ now acts through the sacraments he instituted to communicate his grace. The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify.         

(The next question is: How many sacraments are there, and what are their names?)