The Sacraments and the Spiritual Life
The source of Catholic life is Jesus Christ our Saviour and his plan of salvation, as revealed in the Scriptures. Through him we know that there are three persons in one God: God the Father who created the world, Jesus, the Son of God, who redeemed mankind, and the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us. Our understanding of the reality of God, of the world and of human existence – the content of Christian faith – depends upon revelation and the intervention of God.
Christians must start from the common basis of faith through a process of searching. Pope Benedict has said that they must allow themselves to be guided by Christ and thus attain knowledge of the Truth that forms the content of faith.
The Word of God, Tradition and the Sacraments are central to Catholic life. Together, Scripture and Tradition make up a single deposit of the Word of God, in which, as in a mirror, the pilgrim Church contemplates God, the source of all her riches. We can understand Tradition as the living interpretation of the Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, by the authorities of the Church from the time of the Apostles to the present day. This interpretation has been based on the promised presence of Christ in his Church ‘to the end of time’.
God created us for eternal happiness, to be obtained by accepting his love and nourishing our spiritual lives. For this purpose he gave us the Sacraments through which we receive our Life in Christ. They are the visible signs of the invisible grace we receive, restoring and nourishing our spiritual lives which bear us towards our goal of salvation. Each one of the seven Sacraments confers its own special grace, in accordance with its purpose. They all involve prayer accompanied by a gesture particular to each one. Each is approached in a different way at various stages of our lives. As Christ is present in all the Sacraments they help us to become more Christ-like and to nourish our supernatural lives. We need these graces, obtained for us by Christ’s death and Resurrection. Through his love God gave us the Sacraments; we should prove our gratitude by making use of them.
Our spiritual life begins at the moment we are conceived. It is ratified by the Sacrament of Baptism, when we (or our parents and sponsors in the case of infant Baptism) personally choose Jesus as the central point of our lives, and we resolve to live according to the values of the Gospel and the teaching of Christ and his Church. Our spiritual life grows and is strengthened by the Sacrament of Confirmation and is nourished by the Sacrament of the Eucharist (Holy Communion). These three Sacraments are called the Sacraments of Initiation. When we fall into sin, it is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) that we are healed and cured of our guilt. In sickness Christ comes to our help in the Sacrament of the Sick. Christ instituted the Sacrament of the Priesthood (Holy Orders) to consecrate those who will minister to our spiritual lives and will govern his Church on earth. God calls man and woman to love one another; the Sacrament of Matrimony (Marriage) sanctifies the union of husband and wife, through whose love and the procreation of children the Church will grow.
Our true spiritual life is nourished by the Sacraments and prayer; together with morality and good works they help us to unite with God here on earth preparing the way to heaven, as Christ promised.
In our Parish the various Sacraments are celebrated in different ways. If you are interested in, or ready to receive, one of them please contact Father Gerard Flynn. The preparation period will be arranged, together with the appointed time of celebration of the Sacrament.