The Sacraments : God’s Signs of Love
Theresa Antony shares how God shows his love for us through the sacraments.
Imagine giving someone you love a hug. They can’t “see” your love, but they can see it through your actions. What are the Sacraments? They are signs of God’s love that we can see – they remind us of His mercy which we can’t “see.” Sacraments also let us show our love for God and fill us with His grace. In addition to being signs, they are also celebrations of our continued journey towards God.
Birthdays are a little bit like the sacraments. Your parents celebrate your birthday to mark every stage of your life. Similarly, we can look on Sacraments as celebrating every stage of our life in Christ. Just like at birthdays, Sacraments are also special occasions where we receive gifts! Jesus gives you gifts of grace and the Holy Spirit, so that you have the strength to continue in your spiritual journey. Jesus received those graces from God the Father when He died on the cross for our sins. When we receive the sacraments with faith and love, Jesus can give us that grace. This is why we call it a “gift” of grace. There are seven sacraments God uses to give us His grace and show us His love: Baptism, the Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Confession, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the sick.
In each Sacrament, God shows us his love in a different way and gives us different graces, with each helping us in a unique way grow closer to God. All of the saints received the sacraments as often as they could, because they knew it would bring them closer to Jesus. “I hunger for the bread of God, the flesh of Jesus Christ; I long to drink of his blood, the gift of unending love”, says St. Ignatius of Antioch. Through the sacraments, we also show that we are following through on the promises we made to God. In Holy Communion and Confession, we clean our hearts and souls to make ourselves holy, which is one of the promises we made to God during Baptism. Our parents keep their promises to each other and to God through the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. When we keep those promises, we are actually showing God that we love Him, just like He is showing us that He loves us!
Through His death on the cross, Jesus made it possible for us to receive these gifts from God. Every Sunday at the Mass, He asks us to show our love for Him, by receiving his Body and Blood faithfully. “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me’” (Lk 22:19).