The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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New Series: The Sacraments of the Church

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Traditionally, the fifty days from Easter to Pentecost Sunday are a period of ‘mystagogical catechesis’, a time of post-baptismal instruction given to new Christians who have been initiated into the Christian mystery by the Sacraments of Baptism and/or Confirmation at the Easter vigil. 

This time of reflection is primarily ordered towards helping new Christians to ‘settle in’ as they make their first steps as members of the Church, and to help them to apprehend more deeply the meaning of the rites they have received and in which they now participate as full members. Yet the presence of neophytes in our midst is a tremendous gift of God, bringing new life to the ever-youthful Body of Christ, and inviting Christians of all ages to reflect upon the faith they received at the Baptismal font (called by one Easter hymn the “grave of sin”), a faith which they practice pre-eminently at the Eucharistic table.

Over the next few weeks, therefore, the Godzdogz team will be reflecting on the Sacraments of the Church. Our lives as Christians are punctuated by the Sacraments, as it is by Holy Baptism that we are born into the Church’s sacramental life which is ultimately consummated (God willing) in the Sacrament of Anointing. As Catholics, the Sacraments lie at the heart of our faith, for they are the enduring presence of the Easter mystery, through which the power of the cross can be operative in every generation and through which the merits of Christ are applied to all people. The Sacraments, then, are the ordinary means by which God reaches out to us, to reconcile us to Himself, and in which we are enabled to reach out to Him, to bring our needs and our petitions before Him in a particularly direct way. For this reason it is distressing that so many people today see Church services as 'boring' or 'irrelevant', since the celebration of the Sacraments is not reducible to an adjunct to the liberating and saving power of the gospel, but is its very presence and vitality in our often turbulent world, offering to all people a new way of living with God and with one another.

Oliver James Keenan OP


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