Field Guild 1: The Journey
Part One: Reading Assignment:
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
– John 14:6
“The Church entrusts to young people the task of proclaiming to the world the joy which springs from having met Christ. Dear friends, allow yourselves to be drawn to Christ; accept his invitation and follow him. Go and preach the good news that redeems; do it with happiness in your hearts and become communicators of hope in a world which is often tempted to despair.”
– Blessed Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day, Vatican City, 1993
“Every journey towards something is a journey away from something.”
– Matthew Kelly
We are all on a journey towards Christ. Like the Israelites in the Book of Exodus escaping Egypt, we are wandering through our own deserts in search of the Promised Land: Heaven. Just like the Israelites, we need help from God if we are to survive this Journey. It is the Sacraments that give us strength and sustain us through the deserts and storms in our lives.
What are Sacraments?
The Sacraments are at the very heart of the Catholic Church! They are pure gifts of grace from Jesus Christ. Jesus established the Sacraments through the Church so that we can participate in receiving His graces. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way:
“Sacraments are ‘powers that comes forth’ from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are “the masterworks of God” in the new and everlasting covenant.”
– CCC 1116
“Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.”
– CCC 1210
The Sacraments aren’t magic, they’re grace (which is better than magic)! They don’t work because the Priest says some words and does some ritual; they work because Christ did it first and gave these gifts to the Church so that She could give them to us! Some of them are a one-time only thing, and some we can and should be returning to as often as possible!
Since we as humans are both physical AND spiritual (Both/And is a pretty big Catholic theme), God gives us the Sacraments in the same way. They are physical signs that we can see/touch/taste/hear/smell (Chrism, the oil that they use for Confirmation, smells GREAT!), but they also convey an invisible, spiritual power. Since we have the priesthood and these wonderful Sacraments, we can have assurance that we are receiving God’s grace. It’s pretty awesome to be a Catholic!
Please read the following (in this order):
1 Corinthians 4:1
Hopefully these readings give you a little taste of what is to come. The main thing to remember is that the Sacraments come to us by the power of Christ Himself, which is maintained by the Church throughout the ages! They are the gifts that God gives us so that we can be strengthened for the JOURNEY.