View Full Version : The Notions of Sacrament, Trinity and "Revelation"

April 15th, 2010, 03:35 PM
Just a quickie here for those interested in the Catholic notion of a sacrament. We traditionally recognize seven; our separated brethren in the East have the exact same seven but they do not limit the number of sacraments, recognizing instead that the nature of a sacrament spontaneously exists in experiences and acts in life.

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1) The sacrament is "a visible sign of an invisible reality." (St. Augustine)
2) A sacrament functions ex opere operato. They are effective by the performance of a physical formula. (Analagous, admittedly, to sympathetic magic.)
3) A sacrament is a channel of grace* and it is the Holy Spirit that dispenses here.

* What is grace? That's tricky in itself; probably post something about it some other time.

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We recognize each Person of the Trinity in salvific history:

1) Pater, the creator and sustainer of all.
2) Filius, the logos and the redeemer of creation.
3) Spiritus Sanctus, the dispenser of grace.

We worship and interact with all three because of revelation - a "revealing". All three Persons have revealed Himself to His people - be it through the call of the biblical Patriarchs and at Mt. Sinai, through the Incarnation or through the Pentecost (when the Holy Spirit descended upon Our Lady and the Apostles). This revelation is both awe-inspiring and dreadful, peaceful and earth-shattering! Yet we thrive on this experience of God.

Each Catholics mimics this interaction of God and Israel/the Church in their own devotional life. Indirectly, The Father, the God of the Patriarchs and the God of Mt. Sinai reveals himself to us through our scriptures. The Son reveals himself to us directly in the sacrament of the Eucharist. And The Holy Spirit first reveals himself to us in the sacrament of Baptism and then again through all the other sacraments. We devote ourselves to our practices and our rituals because we want this experience of God - we want Him to reveal Himself to us for the intrinsic purpose of both the experience of God itself and for the purpose of advancing our own sanctification/theosis. The more we open ourselves to and become aware of God and the more we experience, adore and love Him, holiness becomes more and more inevitable.

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Comments? Thoughts?

June 17th, 2010, 10:00 PM
I know this was posted a while back but I thought I'd comment on it. :) I don't come to MW as often as I used to...but something always draws me back.

Are the seven sacraments of the Catholic church holy baptism, holy eucharist, confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony, reconciliation, and unction?

The Book of Common Prayer says "sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace." I think that's pretty much along the same lines as what you said. I like the idea of outward signs to represent concepts and always have. It helps me connect a lot better.

August 20th, 2010, 11:10 PM
Are the seven sacraments of the Catholic church holy baptism, holy eucharist, confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony, reconciliation, and unction?

That's right! :) They are, as the Book of Common Prayer quoted, visible signs of invisible graces.