Baptism

Baptism is the Sacrament on which our very faith is founded and which grafts us as a living member onto Christ and his Church. Together with the Eucharist and Confirmation it forms what is known as “Christian initiation”, like one great sacramental event that configures us to the Lord and turns us into a living sign of his presence and of his love [read more …]

Reconciliation

Through the Sacraments of Christian Initiation — Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist — man receives new life in Christ. Now, we all know that we carry this life “in earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7), we are still subject to temptation, suffering, and death and, because of sin, we may even lose this new life. [read more …]

Holy Communion

The Eucharist is at the heart of “Christian initiation”, together with Baptism and Confirmation, and it constitutes the source of the Church’s life itself. From this Sacrament of love, in fact, flows every authentic journey of faith, of communion and of witness [read more …]

Confirmation

These two Sacraments [Confirmation and Baptism], together with the Eucharist, form a single saving event — called “Christian initiation” — in which we are inserted into Jesus Christ, who died and rose, and become new creatures and members of the Church. This is why these three Sacraments were originally celebrated on one occasion, at the end of the catechumenal journey, normally at the Easter Vigil. The path of formation and gradual insertion into the Christian community, which could last even up to a few years, was thus sealed. One travelled step by step to reach Baptism, then Confirmation and the Eucharist.[read more …]

Anointing of the Sick

In the past it was called “Extreme Unction”, because it was understood as a spiritual comfort in the face of imminent death. To speak instead of the “Anointing of the Sick” helps us broaden our vision to include the experience of illness and suffering, within the horizon of God’s mercy.
There is a biblical icon that expresses, in all its depths, the mystery that shines through the Anointing of the Sick: it is the parable of the “Good Samaritan” contained in the Gospel of Luke (10:30-35). [read more …]

Marriage

This Sacrament leads us to the heart of God’s design, which is a plan for a Covenant with his people, with us all, a plan for communion. At the beginning of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, at the culmination of the creation account it says: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 1:27; 2:24). [read more …]

Holy Orders/Priesthood

We have already pointed out that the three Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist constitute together the mystery of “Christian initiation,” a unique great event of grace that regenerates us in Christ. This is the fundamental vocation that unites all in the Church as disciples of the Lord Jesus. Then there are two Sacraments which correspond to two specific vocations: Holy Orders and Matrimony. They constitute two great ways through which a Christian can make of his life a gift of love, in imitation and in the name of Christ, and thus cooperate in the building of the Church.[read more …]