Blog Archives

YOUCAT Series 21 – How We Celebrate the Christian Mysteries: God and the Sacred Liturgy

Questions 170 to 178
Here we look at the centrality of God and Jesus’ death and Resurrection to the liturgy; as well the roles faith, the sacraments and the liturgy play in our redemption.

Q. 170
Read Audience: Praying as the Body of Christ:

The liturgy is a “participation in Christ’s own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1073). The Church, as Christ’s Mystical Body and united with him, offers worship to the Father. By identifying ourselves with Christ in his prayer to the Father, we rediscover our deepest identity as Christians, as children of “Our Father who art in heaven”. The liturgy is also an encounter of the whole Christ, that is, with Christ and his body the Church. Thus, the liturgy is a sharing in the prayer of the living, universal community of believers in Christ. Prayer becomes the habitual realization of the presence of God, as we make the words of the Church our own, and learn to speak in her and through her. The Church is most truly itself in the liturgy, as it is the place where God comes to us and enters our lives. Let us remember that the liturgy is celebrated for God, not for us; it is his work; he is its subject. For our part, in the liturgy we must leave ourselves open to be guided by him and by his Body, the Church”.

Q. 171
See Pope Benedict: The Liturgy Lifts Our Hearts to God:

“As the Second Vatican Council teaches, it is by means of the liturgy that Christ, our Redeemer and High Priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with and through his Church. This is the great marvel of the liturgy: God acts, while we are caught up in his action,” the Pope said…

The people in question are the “new people of God, brought into being by Christ” through his passion, death and resurrection. This means it is a people “which does not exist by itself and which is not bound by blood, territory or country, but is brought into being through the paschal mystery,” the Pope noted.

Q. 172
From What are the seven Sacraments?:

Jesus Christ instituted the sacraments…There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation, 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: 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 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1210)The traditional definition of a sacrament is this: “A sacrament is a visible sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace”.

Q. 173
This question describes the effects of Sacramental Grace.

Q. 174
From A Tour of the SUMMA:

Man acquires intellectual knowledge from sense-knowledge. Therefore, sensible signs are aptly used to signify spiritual things. A sacrament is a sign that the senses can grasp; then the mind can read the intellectual and spiritual meaning which the sign is meant to convey. A sacrament is always an outer or sensible sign.

Q. 175
See Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Q. 176
Again from A Tour of the SUMMA:

Not every sacrament of the New Law imprints an indelible character on the soul. Such a character is impressed by those sacraments which are ordained for divine worship and which give a person power to receive or confer other sacraments. Baptism empowers a person to receive other sacraments. Confirmation … has something of this same purpose. Holy order empowers the receiver to confer sacraments on others. Therefore, these three sacraments (baptism,confirmation, holy order), imprint, respectively, a character on the soul. A property of these sacraments is that they can be received only once by the same person. Their respective characters never fade or admit of renewal.

Q. 177
From Faith, Sacraments and the Unity of the Church:

15. The sacraments of the Church are “sacraments of faith” where God the Father hears the “epiclesis”. (invocation) in which the Church expresses its faith by this prayer for the coming of the Spirit. In them, the Father gives his Holy Spirit who leads us into the fullness of salvation in Christ. Christ himself constitutes the Church as his Body. The Holy Spirit edifies the Church. There is no gift in the Church which cannot be attributed to the Spirit. (Basil the Great, PG 30, 289). The sacraments are both gift and grace of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus Christ in the Church. This is expressed very concisely in an Orthodox hymn of Pentecost: “The Holy Spirit is the author of every gift. He makes prophecies spring forth. He renders priests perfect. He teaches wisdom to the ignorant. He makes fishermen into theologians and consolidates the institution of the Church”.

Q. 178
See the New Catholic Dictionary: ex opere operato.

Reflection Questions
• What is the hookup culture?
See ‘Hookup’ culture mentality creates social indifference

• What is Sola Scriptura?
See Why Sola Scriptura Cannot be True

Note: The iamthird blog is running a Youcat Series too! Check it out here.

Advertisements

YOUCAT Series 20 – How We Celebrate the Christian Mysteries: God Acts in Our Regard by Means of Sacred Signs

Questions 166 to 169
Part 2 of the Youcat focuses on the Sacraments. This first section dwells on the prominence of the liturgy; as this is where we are the closest to Christ on earth.

Q. 166
See Sacrosanctum concilium (The Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy from Vatican II):

47. At the Last Supper, on the night when He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity [36], a paschal banquet in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

Q. 167
Read Sacrosanctum concilium No. 2;

2. For the liturgy, “through which the work of our redemption is accomplished,” [1] most of all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek [2]. While the liturgy daily builds up those who are within into a holy temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit [3], to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ [4], at the same time it marvelously strengthens their power to preach Christ, and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations [5] under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together [6], until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd [7].

Q. 168
The full text of Sacrosanctum concilium No. 10:

10. Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord’s supper.

The liturgy in its turn moves the faithful, filled with “the paschal sacraments,” to be “one in holiness” [26]; it prays that “they may hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith” [27]; the renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way.

Q. 169
The effect of the sacraments is worth reflecting on generally, though here especially in the context of the liturgy;

59. The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the body of Christ, and, finally, to give worship to God; because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called “sacraments of faith.” They do indeed impart grace, but, in addition, the very act of celebrating them most effectively disposes the faithful to receive this grace in a fruitful manner, to worship God duly, and to practice charity.

It is therefore of the highest importance that the faithful should easily understand the sacramental signs, and should frequent with great eagerness those sacraments which were instituted to nourish the Christian life. (Sacrosanctum concilium No. 59)

Reflection Questions
• What is the Culture of Death?
See Why do we call it a “Culture of Death”?

• What is NaPro Technology?
See NaPro Technology

Tip: An easy way to learn new prayers is to copy and paste them to the notes section of your tablet or smart phone!