We have learned something about Initiation and the Sacraments involved with our initiation into membership of the Catholic family. We have also discovered tat it is through effective initiation that a community guarantees its cohesiveness and security, and ensures that future generations will be well supported by committed members of the community. At the same time if initiation is non-existent or ineffective then a community will gradually die out. The effectiveness of our initiation is demonstrated by the way in which we live our responsibilities under the sacraments instituted by Christ for us. In our final presentation we will take a look at how we can live the sacraments...
Being a Catholic is more than being ready to do what is morally good rather than what is the most pleasant or advantageous act. It is more than being assured that God is the ultimate good and the source of the meaning life. You could even go as far to say it is even more important than being converted to Christianity, to accepting Christ as the "Word of God" spoken in human history. Being a Catholic means accepting Christ as he is mediated through a historic tradition of some two thousand years and a sequence of cultures. It means coming to know about Christ, and coming to know him through a Church that calls itself Catholic, because historically and culturally it is Catholic i.e. "because Christ is present in her ... Because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race." (CCC. 830 & 831)
Even if we consider the sacraments to be simply a series of rituals we can still recognise that through these rituals something happens e.g. A man becomes a priest; an unbeliever becomes a Christian. But if we can look deeper and recognise the real presence of our Triune God (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) then we can experience for ourselves the mysterious gifts and powers that the sacraments can bestow on us e.g. Acceptance, Forgiveness, Love, Healing, Trust, Empowerment, Support, Hope, etc. As a Church, a Parish and a Community we need to look at ourselves to see if, while we celebrate our sacraments, we truly understand their full meaning. Do we just celebrate them because it is something we traditionally do, or do we celebrate them and hold fast to the meaning they have for our lives?From previous presentations we have learned that Baptism is a sacrament of initiation, bringing incorporation into the Church and separation from the sinfulness that contaminates the world, and bestowing the basic gifts of Faith, Hope and Love. Let us now reflect on to what extent we, as individuals and Parish community, mark a real initiation. Do we actively involve ourselves in the incorporation of the infant or newly baptised adult into our Parish Family? Do we show them by our example how a Christian lives? Do we actively share with them the gifts of Faith, Hope and Love we have been given?
Whether we like it or not we are citizens of the world. Television and radio, newspapers and magazines have exploited our consciousness so that it now reaches around the planet. Yet our natural tendency is to withdraw into ourselves. We all would like to think we can live our personal lives and let the world go on its merry way. For us a Christians this is a constant temptation. We would like a quiet life in which we can limit religion and make it a very private affair, or at most just an area for the Church to be concerned with.
As Christians it is our assigned task to Bring Faith, Hope and Love to all in what we do and say... I hope you have all enjoyed our series of talks and hope you will attend future ones as and when they are arranged. We would be grateful if before you leave if you could each take a comment sheet. To help us plan further talks and improve one’s we are giving we need you assistance. Please complete these and return to the Parish office, or myself, or the Sacristy within the next two weeks.
Alive in the Spirit<br />our sacraments should be symbols of the life we are already living<br />5<br />
Being Church<br />Christianity emphasises "the grace of God as making the Christian life possible, on the love of God (rather than the individual's self-respect) as the object towards which human striving should be directed, and on the outgoing activity of 'charity' towards one's fellow men." (Henry Chadwick, "The Penguin History of the Church 1": Penguin, London, 1993. p.56)<br />6<br />
Citizens of the World<br />In today's world our task as Christians is to bring hope, and hope is possible only if there is energy available to change the present course of events.<br />10<br />