The Sacraments of InitiationLay Formation InstituteCelebration of the Christian MysteryCompiled from the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Stephen M. Matuszak, S.T.L.
The Sacraments of Christian InitiationBaptism, Confirmation & Eucharist lay the foundations of every Christian life.The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation and receive the Eucharist as the food of eternal life.By means of these sacraments, they receive in increasing measure the treasures of divine life and advance toward perfect charity
BaptismBaptism is the basis for the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other sacraments.Through baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God;We become members of Christ and are incorporated into His body the Church;And made sharers in her missionBaptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and the word.
What is this sacrament called?It is called baptism after the central rite baptizein means plunge or immerse which symbolizes our immersion into Christs death and our rising as a new creation.It is called washing or regeneration and renewal by the Holy SpiritIt is called enlightenment because those who receive catechetical instruction (before baptism) are enlightened in their understanding by the true light who enlightens every man the Light of the World.
In the Economy ofSalvationIn the Easter Vigil the Church commemorates the great events in salvation history that prefigured the mystery of Baptism.Water, so humble and wonderful a creature, has been the source of life and fruitfulness since the creation of the world.In Noahs ark is seen a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism.The crossing of the Red Sea is the liberation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt and announces the liberation brought by Baptism.Also prefigured in the crossing of the Jordan
Christs BaptismAll Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus.He begins his public life after being baptized by John in the Jordan river.Jesus gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying and is intended for us sinners to fulfill all righteousness.In his Passover Christ opened up to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had spoken of his Passion as a Baptism with which he would be baptized.The blood and water that flowed from his side are types of Baptism and Eucharist.
Baptism in the ChurchIn Scripture Baptism is seen as always being connected with faith.Through Baptism, the believer enters into communion with Christs death, is buried with him and rises with him to new life.Those who are baptized have put on Christ.Through the Holy Spirit, baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies and sanctifies.Through Baptism the imperishable seed of the word of God produces its life-giving effect. (I Pet. 1:23)
How is Baptism celebrated?Christian InitiationFrom the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages.Essential elements of this journey are: Proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and admission to Eucharistic communion.As the period of the catechumenate developed it included preparatory rites prior to initiation.By its very nature, infant baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate using a catechism.In the Roman rite infant Baptism is followed by years of catechesis before being completed later by Confirmation and the Eucharist, the summit of Christian initiation. (#1236)
Mystagogy of the Celebration:Rites of the CelebrationThe sign of the cross The proclamation of the Word of GodExorcisms are pronounced over the candidateThe baptismal water is consecrated by prayer and the epiclesisThe essential rite followsThe triple infusion and baptismal formulaAnointing with sacred chrismWhite garment and candlePraying of the Our Father
Who can receive Baptism?Every person not yet baptized and only such a person is able to be baptized. (CIC #864)Baptism of adults is done through the catechumenate which seeks to foster conversion and maturity in the faith.Catechumens are already joined to the Church, they are already of the household of Christ often living a life of faith, hope & love.Born with a fallen human nature, infants and children have need of the new birth of Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God.
Faith & BaptismBaptism is the sacrament of faith but faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe.The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or godparent is asked: What do you ask of Gods Church? The response is Faith!
Faith & Baptism, cont.Since faith must continue to grow and develop after Baptism, the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises.Preparation for Baptism leads only the threshold of new life.Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs.For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the help of parents and godparents is essential.The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility for the developing and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptism. (#1255)
Who Can Baptize?The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the Bishop and priest, and in the Latin Church, also the Deacon.In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula.The required intention is to do what the Church does when she baptizes.
The Necessity of BaptismThe Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation and commands the disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.Baptism is necessary for salvation for all those to whom the Gospel has been preached and who have the possibility of asking for the sacrament.The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude.God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. (#1257)
The Grace of BaptismDifferent effects of Baptism include:The forgiveness of all sins (yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain)Becoming a new creature, an adopted son or daughter of God, member of Christ and temple of the Holy SpiritThe sanctifying grace of justificationIncorporation in the ChurchThe sacramental bond of unity of believersAn indelible spiritual mark, the seal of the Lord.
The sacrament of ConfirmationIt was announced by the prophets that the Spirit of the Lord would rest upon the MessiahThe Spirit would be given to the whole messianic people (Ezk. 36: 25-27; Joel 3:1-2)Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 1:8)The laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Spirit accompanied Baptism in the apostolic ageThe anointing with Chrism was added to the laying on of hands to signify the giving of the Spirit.
Signs and Rites of ConfirmationThe sign of anointing signifies and imprints a spiritual seal.By Confirmation, Christians share more deeply in the mission of Christ and receive the mark, the seal of the Holy Spirit.It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Cor. 1:21-22).
Celebration of ConfirmationThe consecration of the sacred Chrism is an important action that precedes the celebration, but is part of itThe Bishop extends his hands and prays over the whole group of confirmands, invoking the Holy Spirit.The sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with chrism on the forehead, and through the words, Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.The sign of peace concludes the rite of the sacra-ment and signifies and demonstrates ecclesial communion with the bishop and all the faithful.
Prayer to the Holy SpiritAll powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and under-standing, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Effects of the ConfirmationThe effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as granted to the apostles on PentecostIt brings an increase and deepening of the grace of baptism & imparts a sacramental character or seal.It roots us more deeply in divine sonshipIt unites us more firmly to ChristIt increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in usIt gives special strength to spread and to defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ
Who can receive this sacrament?Every baptized person not yet confirmed should be confirmed: The faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time... w/o it Christian initiation remains incompleteAt the age of discretion w /help of a sponsorPreparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and greater familiarity with the Holy Spirit.To receive the sacrament one must be in a state of grace. More intense prayer will allow one to received the graces of the Holy Spirit with docility & readiness to act according to His inspiration.
The Minister of ConfirmationThe ordinary minister of confirmation is the bishop although a priest may be delegated.In the Eastern Rite the priest who baptizes administers Confirmation in the same celebration, but does so with chrism consecrated by the Bishop or Patriarch, thus expressing the apostolic unity of the Church.If a Christian is in danger of death, any priest can administer Confirmation.
The Sacrament of EucharistThe 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 the Lords own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.Our Lord instituted the Eucharist to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross until he returns.He entrusted to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity.
Eucharist Source & SummitThe Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of Gods action sanctifying the world in Christ and the worship men offer to Christ and through him the Father in the Holy Spirit. #1325 By the Eucharist we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life when God will be all in all #1326 (cf. I Cor. 15:28)
Names for EucharistThere are many names for the Eucharist:Greek names: eucharistein and eulogeinThe Lords SupperThe Breaking of BreadEucharistic assemblyMemorial of the Lords Passion and ResurrectionThe Holy Sacrifice; Holy & Divine LiturgyHoly Communion bread of angels, medicine of immortalityHoly Mass (because we are sent forth)
Eucharist in the Economyof SalvationSigns of bread and wine (see #1333)In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of gratitude to the CreatorThe cup of blessing at the end of the Passover adds to the festive joy of wine the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem.The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves prefigures the superabundance of the Eucharist.To receive in faith the gift of the Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself. (#1336)
Institution of the EucharistIn order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament. #1337By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning, anticipating the final Passover of the Church in the glory of heaven. #1340
Do this in memory of meThe command of Jesus to repeat his actions & words until he comes is directed at the liturgical celebration in memorial of Christ and of his intercession before the Father.Christians met on the first day of the week, Sunday, the day of Jesus resurrection, to break bread. From that day until now the celebration continues with the same fundamental structure & remains the center of faith.The pilgrim People of God advances following the narrow way of the cross toward the heavenly banquet, when all the elected will be seated at table in the Kingdom of heaven.
Mass of all agesAs early as 155 we have the witness of St. Justin Martyr concerning the Eucharistic celebration.The fundamental structure of the liturgy of the Eucharist has been preserved through out the centuries down to our own day.The two parts, liturgy of the Word and of the Eucharist form one single act of worship.This the same paschal meal of the risen Lord with his disciples on the road to Emmaus; He first spoke to them and then broke bread at table (Lk 24:13-35)
Movement of CelebrationGathering at the head is Christ himselfLiturgy of the WordPresentation of the gifts and the collectionThe Anaphora with the Eucharistic prayer: The preface, epiclesis, institution narrative, anamnesis of Christs Passion, death & Resurrection are presented to the FatherThe intercessions for the Church & the worldThe Lords prayer and Holy Communion
Sacramental Sacrifice:Thanksgiving, Memorial, PresenceWe carry out the commandment of the Lord to Do this in memory of me by celebrating the memorial of his sacrifice. In so doing, we offer to the Father what He has given us: the gifts of His creation, bread and wine which by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, become the body and blood of Christ.The Eucharist must therefore be considered as, 1) thanksgiving & praise to the Father; 2) the sacrificial memorial of Christ and his Body; 3) the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit.
Sacrificial Memorial, cont.The Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished on the cross, is also a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for the work of creation which is presented to the Father through the death and Resurrection of Christ. Through him, the Church offers the sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation.The memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men. As they are celebrated, they become in a certain way real and present. This is how Israel understands the Passover celebration: Next year in Jerusalem!
The fruits of Holy CommunionHoly Communion augments our union with ChristHoly Communion separates us from sinBy the same charity it enkindles in us, it preserves us from future mortal sinsThe Eucharist makes the Church; it is the unity of the mystical body we are compelled therefore to pray to the unity of believers.The Eucharist commits us to the poor and calls us to recognize Christ in the poorest of his brethren.
Pledge of Future GloryIf the Eucharist is the memorial of the Passover of the Lord Jesus, if by our communion at the altar we are filled with every heavenly blessing and grace then the Eucharist is also an anticipation of the heavenly glory.Whenever the Church celebrates Eucharist she turns her gaze to him who is to come and calls upon him saying, Marana tha! Come Lord Jesus! May your grace come and this world pass away!
Pledge of Future GloryThere is no surer pledge or clearer sign of this great hope for the new heavens and new earth than the Eucharist. Every time this mystery is celebrated the work of redemption is carried on.We break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ. (St. Ignatius of Antioch)
I am the living Bread that comes down from heaven