What the Sacraments Mean to Me

I had the opportunity to speak to my niece’s confirmation class, this is what I shared…

I think I can sum up what the sacraments mean to me in three words… Life, Hope and Truth. I should start by asking a question. Why am I Catholic? I have free will and can “choose” to follow any religion, so why am I Catholic. I have thought about that many times in my life and each time I came around to the same conclusion. First, I had to understand that by the very nature of truth, there can only be one truth. For example, I can believe in my heart of hearts that my brother has six toes on each foot. I can rationalize all I want and try to convince the world all I want but I can not change the fact that my brother really only has 5 toes just like everyone else. Similarly, either there is only one God, or there isn’t. So why do I believe there is? I look at the life of Christ, and I read about what he did through the eye witness of other human beings, I listen to His Word, brought to us through the bible, apostles and disciples. When Jesus ascended back into heaven, he did not abandon us. Instead the Holy Spirit lives all around us, and God established the Church here on earth. I look at the church and I see the core teachings of the Church, have not changed in over 2000 years. If left only to us humans, there is no way we would not change things up, to make the teaching fit our own situations through the years. It is human nature. I know good from bad, and that good is very consistent among humans. It is consistent because we all get our sense of right and wrong from one source, our Creator. Knowing all that I have learned over the years, I see God in everyday life. I look around this room, I see in each of you, God’s hand. The Holy Spirit is alive within and around us, God left us His Church (of which we are the body), the Church by God’s design gave us the sacraments. In the Sacraments, God’s Spirit interacts with us in the most intimate way. Our priests are the vessels through which God works. In Baptism, God welcomes us to His family, in the Eucharist He feeds our souls, through Reconciliation He forgives us and eases our pain. Now as you all prepare to receive Christ in Confirmation you have developed to the age where you can begin to help God move forward with His Church, to be a supporter, cheerleader and soldier for Christ. By your example from this day out, your actions can reflect God’s touch on not only your life, but also on those all around you. As you know, God’s Sacraments do not stop here. They provide us with continual opportunites to interact with Him. From birth to death, God gives us himself in the Sacraments. I am way past the age where I have to go to church just because Mom and Dad say I have to. I go now to be with God in the Eucharist, and I go to confession to bring peace in my life. Ultimately, I strive to be happy and through experience I realize another truth. Contrary to popular belief, happiness is not doing whatever you please, when you please. That usually ends with an empty spirit. Happiness comes from my heart and soul being at peace. I gain peace when my actions and thoughts match what my spirit knows to be right. That knowledge comes from my Creator. I go to Reconciliation not because I am supposed to. Reconciliation frees me from those times that I let things get between myself and God. I try to be a good person. That’s great but I must remember that merely saying I belive in God does not make me a good person, but rather, I believe in God and by continually seeking His truth, and living in accordance to his guidance, He helps me to be a good person.

So to me, the Sacraments mean Life gained through the reception of the Living God, Hope by always having opportunities to interact with God, and Truth in that the sacraments given to us by God reinforce the fact that God exists, there is an afterlife and we are accountable for our actions.