Part 2 of 4 on the Sacraments. Please click here to view Part 1 from last week.
The Sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist – are the foundation of every Christian life.
Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ. (CCC, 1275)
“The gathering of the People of God begins with Baptism.” (CCC, 1185) The Sacrament of Baptism is a beginning to our Christian life, not an end. With Baptism, we become a new creation in Christ; thus, we must begin to learn more about our faith and grow spiritually throughout the rest of our earthly life. With Baptism, we have new birth in the Holy Spirit (see CCC, 1262). Baptism makes us members of Christ and heirs to the Kingdom of God, temples of the Holy Spirit, and partakers of the divine nature, marked with an indelible spiritual mark. Furthermore, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
– enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues;
– giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
– allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.
Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism. (CCC, 1266)
During the Sacrament of Confirmation, “by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism…The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.” (CCC, 1288)
With Confirmation, we are anointed and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist. (CCC, 1322)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (CCC, 1324)
The Council of Trent formalized our beliefs about the Eucharist by declaring:
In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” (CCC, 1374)