Confirmation: Grace to Find & Fulfill Our Particular Vocations
Every person was uniquely created to participate in the Kingdom of God; we know this because God said to Jeremiah: “Before you were in the womb, I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) This indicates Divine Providence, a plan for each of God’s creatures. However, unlike robots, He did not “program” us to respond to His plans in an autonomous way. This is because God wants us to freely choose to love Him.
“God, infinitely perfect and blessed in Himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him a share in His own blessed life.” (CCC 1)
The ability to choose to love or reject Him also means that we are responsible for the consequences—good and bad— of all we do. For instance, if we choose to overindulge in sweets, God isn’t going to step in and “magically” undo the effects. He is like a good parent who allows His children to discover and explore; He wants us to learn how to recognize and act for not just the perceived good (instant gratification of taste), but the actual good (health and longevity of life). Also, like a good parent, He doesn’t leave us “unguided”. Thus, while He allows us to make our own choices, He never turns a blind eye to us, but gives us the tools and gifts we need to make informed decisions. more...
The Division and Ordering of the Seven Sacraments
Sacraments are the outwards signs that were instituted by Jesus Christ to give grace, that is, they give the capability to respond to God’s general and specific call for our lives. Our general call is to know, to love, and to serve God, our Creator. Our specific call is the particular way that we are to do this using our unique talents.
“The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in divine n ature by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.” (CCC 1129)
In total, the Catholic Church offers her members seven direct means of grace: Baptism, Confirmation, Reconciliation (Penance/Confession), Eucharist, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction). The are efficacious only 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 each sacrament signifies.” (CCC 1127) more...
Baptism: I Thirst For You
Drip. Drip. Drip. It is early morning and the steady dripping rhythm followed by a final gurgle comforts us. The dripping of water through a filter of coffee grounds starts our morning. Many of us even have an addiction to the consumption of this rich brown flavored water. How could we possibly manage without that first warm cup of caffeine? Or that awakening shower?
Drip. Gurgle. Patter. Swish. Splash. Whoosh. Gulp. Gargle. These are other sounds of water that we are most likely to hear in our day. We can’t escape water; the world surface is about 71% water. In fact, the human body contains about 65% water. Water refreshes and cleanses us; it is a sign of life. A lack of water is barren, a desert, a sign of poverty. more...
Reconciliation: The Sacrament of Healthy Living
Have you ever weeded Raspberries only to discover that ant obnoxious weed growing up with them are Nettles— those horrific stinging plants? This is a survival tactic. Nettles closely resemble the Raspberry leaves, including its texture. By looking like the “wanted” plant, it is more likely to remain and steal nutrients
In a similar way, evil presents itself as a good, or intermingles with the good, so that it can stay alive in our lives. However, ultimately, it will always seek to choke the good and replace it. For instance, eating is a good; it is something that sustains us. Pleasant tastes are also a good. But when we forget that the purpose of eating is to perpetuate our life, and instead eat or drink for the purpose of experiencing pleasure, then eventually our bodies become accustom to the doctoring and the over indulgence of sweets, salt, fat, alcohol, etc.,.— factors in obesity, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. more...
Sacraments: the Secret to Happiness
Everyone dreams of being excellent: some in their physique, some in their clothing style, while others are focused on technology, talent, careers, financial security, relationships and many other things. Yes, some joy may be presently found in the accumulation of these goods and in the achievements of certain goals, however, eventually honors, objects, and even health can be taken away. For unfortunately, nothing lasts. In fact, all that is material will eventually deteriorate. Records will be surpassed. Even relationships are not guaranteed. So then, lasting happiness, if it exists, is something that cannot be trumped, or be taken away. This happiness will reside in the things that can never break down or cease; that is, genuine happiness includes the eternal: accomplishments of the soul, in particular, spiritual excellence. more...