Understanding the Sacraments

It’s unfortunate that our (human) understanding of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church has morphed so far from what the Church teaches. The great crisis of faith, why so many are fallen away Catholics, is because no one understands (properly) the Faith.

Many times in my experience with Religious Education and/or apologetics I hear people speak of the great Sacrament of Confirmation as being “one’s personal acceptance of the faith in which they were raised” (i.e., a teenager finally embraces Catholicism as his religion). While that sounds nice, it’s simply not true. The Sacraments are not dependent upon our understanding, they are entirely dependent upon God’s grace. Confirmation is about receiving the GIFTS of the HOLY SPIRIT. Not personal conversion.

Don’t get me wrong. Personal conversion is a wonderful necessity, but it needn’t precede the Sacraments. In fact, waiting on such a conversion could be a means of unnecessarily prolonging the reception of the Sacrament; when, the Sacrament is designed precisely to pour grace into the soul (a necessary precursor to conversion). Especially in our time, when the faith is constantly attacked on all sides, young Catholics NEED the graces of Confirmation (especially those wonderful gifts of the Holy Spirit) to guide and aide their faith and protect it from the world.

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