What is a sacramental life? Living a sacramental life prepares us for the spiritual battles we face. The sacraments are outward signs of interior grace that Christ gives to us (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131). That grace bolsters our hearts to live a life close to Jesus. At their core, the sacraments are encounters with Jesus.
“Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12)
Unleash the Gospel explains: “The faithful need help in understanding how to resist the evil one, exercising the authority they have in Christ. We must use all the weapons the Church has given us: prayer, especially the rosary, Scripture, the sacraments, and sacramentals such as holy water. ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you’ (James 4:7-8)” (Marker 10.3, emphasis added).
The Sacraments matter. Living a sacramental life means we have the tools to face the challenges of living the Christian life.
Beginning a Sacramental life: Baptism
In Unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron reminds us,“the Church has been ringing out a call for all Catholics to awaken to their baptismal identity as missionary disciples” (Marker 3.1).
But this begs the question, “What is our baptismal identity?”
As Christians, the nature of our souls changed when we encountered God’s grace in our Baptism; we became part of God’s family.
Baptism is the first sacrament of Christian initiation. These sacraments–consisting of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist–work together to prepare us for a life of missionary discipleship. Baptism is the foundation of living a sacramental life.
Baptism is significant, but how can we fully enter into the reality of our Baptism?
- Remember your Baptism: do you know the date of your Baptism?
- Celebrate your Baptism: do something special to remember this day of grace each year
- Recall your Baptism: in moments of temptation, remember God’s grace in your soul
- Meditate with the words of Baptism: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” — these words were spoken over you as God claimed you as his beloved son or daughter
- Pray with Jesus’ Baptism: open your Bible to Matthew 3:13-16 and reflect on the Lord’s example of dependence on the Father’s love
Growing in a Sacramental life: Confirmation
Unleash the Gospel tells us, “Christ’s disciples were never meant to carry out her divine mandate to evangelize on the basis of human resources alone. Christ has endowed his bride with an abundance of supernatural charisms, gifts of the Holy Spirit that equip every member of the body of Christ to do his or her part in bearing witness to Christ and building up the Church” (Marker 4.3).
Through Confirmation, God pours the Holy Spirit into our souls. In the Nicene Creed we call the Holy Spirit, “the Lord, the giver of life.” The life that the Holy Spirit gives is a life of freedom, strength, and courage.
How can we dive deeper into the reality of our Confirmation?
- Look up the date of your Confirmation and celebrate this day of grace each year
- Research your Confirmation saint and learn more about how he or she lived the Christian life
- Grow in docility to the Holy Spirit
- Invite the Holy Spirit into your life by praying, “Come, Holy Spirit”
- Learn more about the Charisms of the Holy Spirit and take time to discover yours
- Listen to worship music that opens your heart to the Holy Spirit
- In prayer, ask for greater trust in the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life
Your walk with the Lord is empowered by receiving God’s grace from the sacraments of initiation. Jesus invites you into deeper and more abundant life through the sacraments, always. As you enter more deeply into the reality of these sacraments in your life, have confidence in the power of your Baptism and Confirmation, and return to a life centered on the Eucharist.
Your life as a Christian is a battle, but by intentionally living a sacramental life, you’ll have the armor you need. Enter into a sacramental life, and this Christian life will be transformed.
Living a Sacramental life: Eucharist
The Church teaches the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus. On the altar, Jesus becomes physically present to us through the simple elements of bread and wine. Jesus is really in our midst in the Eucharist. Especially when Jesus feels distant, the Eucharist is a place to encounter our Lord and allow him to pour his life into your soul.
“From the Eucharist comes strength to live the Christian life and zeal to share that life with others.” St. Pope John Paul II
How can we enter into a relationship with the Eucharist?
- Look up the date of your First Communion and celebrate it each year
- Prepare your heart to receive Jesus in the Eucharist by regularly making a good Confession
- Attend daily Mass at your local parish and receive the Eucharist as often as you can
- Ask for specific graces from Jesus when you receive the Eucharist at Mass
- Bring a wound or burden to Jesus in the Eucharist and ask him to take it
- Visit your local adoration chapel to spend time with Jesus in the Eucharist
- Share about the Eucharist with a friend or neighbor
- Ask Jesus to strengthen your belief in his Real Presence
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives as Catholics. Unleash the Gospel reminds us: “Evangelization leads to the Eucharist, since the Eucharist is the fullness of communion with Jesus and his whole Church. On the other hand, the Eucharist leads to evangelization, since our ability to announce the Gospel springs from the passion and resurrection of Christ which is made present anew in the Eucharist” (Marker 3.4).
Turn to the Lord in the Eucharist: it will transform your life.
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