Blog Hop · Faith

The Sacraments: Matter Matters

This post is part of the Catholic Women Bloggers Network Blog Hop, hosted by Reconciled To You.  To read more stories from other bloggers about this topic, click here.

The Sacraments-

I have been meaning to, um, hop, on this blog hop since its very inception. But, (insert your favorite excuse here), life. amirite?  But, I am a rare duck in the mommy world in that my pace actually does slow a bit in the summer, so finally, here I am.

When I started thinking about the topic: Why I Love My Catholic Faith my very logic-oriented brain immediately turned the question into Why Am I A Catholic. And, naturally, I was struck with the Chesterton quote, “The difficulty of explaining “why I am a Catholic” is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.” And, I mean, it is true. But, is that why I love it? I mean, honestly, kind of. But that is the heady answer and I wanted to jump into strange territory here and flesh out a heart answer.

When I was converting, I was drawn first to Catholicism by its Truth and logic, sure, but what pulled my heart in was the Sacraments, and specifically how Catholics were keenly aware of the importance of our body and our spirit, in a way that no other Christians were. In short, the Catholic Church understands that matter mattersWe are not just a soul that happens to inhabit a body. We are our bodies and our souls.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines a Sacrament as “an efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us through the work of the Holy Spirit.” Or, more simply, they are outward signs of an inner grace that effect the graces they signify. It is through the Sacraments that we receive Christ’s grace. What I love the most about the Sacraments is that God is not bound by them. They are not for Him. They are for us. They were created for us, especially to complement the metaphysical dualism of human nature, the material and the immaterial. Body and soul. He gave them to us because we need them.

Sacraments act ex opere operato, but the fruits of the Sacraments depend on the disposition of the one who receives them (CCC 1128) (Also known as, my most frequently cited CCC passage). We need to touch, hear, see, smell, and taste with our material bodies to aide our disposition when we receive the Sacraments. Tasting the Body and Blood of Our Lord in the Eucharist, hearing the words of absolution, the touch of the laying on of hands at an ordination, the smell of the chrism oil at baptism and confirmation, seeing the water washing our bodies as it washes away sins at baptism; all of those things help dispose us to receive the immaterial graces that we otherwise might miss.

Of course God could work without the material elements of the sacraments. But, He knew that we would benefit from them. The Sacraments are a beautiful gift from a Loving Father to His children.

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6 thoughts on “The Sacraments: Matter Matters

  1. A couple things:

    First, I’m pretty sure I laughed a little too hard, and a little too long at your opening pun. I’m still giggling at it.

    Secondly, I had never heard that Chesterton quote, and I *love, love, love* it!! I am in 100% agreement with it… how do you count the ways?!

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful reflection on the Catholic Faith! I am thrilled to have you along for this hop!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe, thanks, Anni. I’m glad someone likes my dorky humor.

      That Chesterton quote is my favorite, because it is exactly how I feel.

      Hoping now that I’ve finally joined the hop I’ll be in it for the long haul. I didn’t start right away because I was busy and assumed it would take me too long to figure out how to link everything. I was so wrong. 😉 Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful reasons for why you are Catholic and love your Catholic Faith! I love the truth and logic that Catholicism has, and be honest with you, that was one of the reasons that drew me in deeper into the faith. What first drew me in was its beauty and devotions every year in the Church–especially around Easter. Finally it just clicked for me and I said that’s it, I have to become Catholic! Thank heavens my father had the same idea at the same time!

    [quote]”Tasting the Body and Blood of Our Lord in the Eucharist, hearing the words of absolution, the touch of the laying on of hands at an ordination, the smell of the chrism oil at baptism and confirmation, seeing the water washing our bodies as it washes away sins at baptism; all of those things help dispose us to receive the immaterial graces that we otherwise might miss.”[/quote]

    I think this is spot on, its these things that helps us etch these sacraments in our minds and solidify them in our hearts. When my sons were baptized, I loved the smell of the oil, and it was a constant reminder that he too is now a Catholic. Even our rings are a wonderful reminder of the Sacrament of Marriage! That outward sign helps stay focused, and eventually find our way home–should we stray from the path.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, how I love this! This is a message that our culture needs–that our bodies are holy and worthy of respect and care just as our spirits are. I’m glad you’ve joined the hop and look forward to reading more from you!

    Liked by 1 person

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