II.A.  Increase in the Life of God - Sacraments

  
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A.  Sacraments

When in the state of grace (sonship with God), we increase in grace (God’s life), through:
  
 ۰  Prayer – to lift the heart and mind to God privately or with others.
  
 ۰  Good works – performed to desire the well-being of another.
  
 ۰  Valid reception of and cooperation with the graces of the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.
 

  1.  Sacraments were instituted by Christ’s sanctified words and actions.
        The very life of God earned for us by Christ’s Redemptive act comes to us through the Church’s   

         Sacraments.  The sacraments strengthen us to build up the Body of Christ.   A sacrament consists of
         two parts – the outward sign and inward grace.

 

        Sacraments act ex opere operato (by the action being performed).

         There are three groups of sacraments identified by their unique nature and effect.
 

   2.  Initiation – The person enter more intimately into the life of Christ.

         a.  Baptism – The sacrament by which we are reborn into the life of Christ through his Church.
          
   ۰  Original Sin is removed.
          
   ۰  A permanent mark is placed on the soul.  
          
   ۰  The person becomes a child of God and heir of heaven.
           
   ۰  Allows the person to receive the other sacraments.
           
   ۰  Allows the person to share in the priestly, prophetic and kingly roles of Christ.
                 1)  Ordinary way to receive Baptism.
             
         ۰  Pouring water and saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.” 
            
         ۰  The infant through its godparents, or adult with its godparents promise to reject Satan and his
                          sinful attractions.
                  2)  Extra-ordinary way to receive Baptism
                       a).  By desire – an un-baptized person dies who has sincerely tried to live out God’s laws of
                             love. 

                       b).  By blood – an un-baptized  person is killed because of the good which he has done.

         b.  Holy Eucharist – The sacrament by which we receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

              ۰  Is the Paschal Mystery – Christ acts as the Priest, the altar and the sacrifice.
          
   ۰  The actual Body and Blood of Christ becomes present on the altar through the ministry of the
                  priest.
          
   ۰  The recipient enters into an intimate union with Christ.
          
   ۰  The recipient is strengthened physically and spiritually to carry out Christ’s Gospel message.

         c.  Confirmation – Perfects the common priesthood of the faithful.
             
۰  Strengthens us to act as mature members of the Body of  Christ.
             
۰  Increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit to build up the Body of Christ on earth.
             
۰  Strengthens us to defend and spread the faith especially through the Corporal and Spiritual Works
                  of Mercy.

      3.  Healing – Prepares us for our heavenly homeland. 

         a.   Reconciliation (Penance) – By which sin and its punishments are removed.
              
۰  Cleanses the soul of actual sin and its punishment.
              
۰  Valid reception requires true sorrow for sin, promise to try not to commit the sin again, and
                   willingness to complete the suggested reparation.

               *   Suggested guides to use in preparing to receive the sacrament.  

         b.   Anointing the Sick – Provides strength in times of emotional or physical need.

               ۰   Provides spiritual and sometimes physical strength as the end of life nears.

   4.  Service – Strength is given to carry out one’s particular state in life.
         a.  Matrimony - Married State 
             
۰  Helps to fulfill the duties of married life to self, spouse, children and family.                         
         b.  Holy Orders - Religious State
             
۰  Helps to fulfill the duties as servant of God and his people.

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