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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

We Celebrate, Not Just Do

We celebrate sacraments in the Church; we don't just perform them. I think many separated Christians get afraid of the way the sacraments work, because it seems at once presumptous and fearful. Yet if we can agree that a pious soul might need to remember that Christ is the true minister of all sacraments, then we can understand that the Catholic teaching is the logical application of that truth. You cannot stir up in yourself enough faith or zeal to make a sacrament work, so to speak. We can, however, in those moments during and prior, decide whether we understand who Jesus is, and whether we are willing to let Him walk with us, no matter how many times we stumble. The whole thing is shot through not only with charity, but faith and hope, too. I can think of nothing more bold than to approach the throne of grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but the way some people tell it, we never needed any of it. The double-edged sword of the claim that sacraments aren't necessary is the idea that they aren't necessary. The person who believes this, and yet becomes piously sentimental about bread and wine is most to be pitied, because he doesn't know what he wants. If the world is enchanted, you might as well be Catholic. If not, no raft of O'Connor quips gets you a free ride across the Tiber. The trip is bathed in blood, and possibly your own.

Even so, we know how to celebrate. Nobody who tells stories of rebel sons, prodigal fathers, and reformed whores should lack the skill.

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