Vocations

 The last two sacraments call us to serve God.

 

God reaches out to man in the sacraments. Each of the seven sacraments is God reaching out to communicate grace to man. A sacrament is also God’s oath to us. “Sacrament” comes from the Latin sacramentum, oath. Jesus promised, (Mt 28:20) “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” The Catholic Church has all of the seven sacraments that Christ left us in the deposit of faith.

 

 There are sacraments of initiation, healing and vocation. The sacraments of initiation are the sources of Christian life: Baptism gives us rebirth in Christ, Confirmation strengthens the Holy Spirit’s presence within us, and Holy Eucharist nourishes our soul. The sacraments of healing restore our soul’s health: Penance forgives our sins, and Anointing of the Sick and Dying prepares us for eternity. The sacraments of vocation aid the salvation of others: in Matrimony we work for salvation for our spouse and the children to come, and in Holy Orders we work for the salvation of all. Each of the seven sacraments gives sanctifying grace as well as actual grace.

 

All Christians are initiated into the Church, but not all Christians are called to live as Christians in the same mode of existence. Most are called to live in intimate union with another in marriage. Some are called to serve God in the single life. Others are called to religious life or priesthood. The sacrament of Matrimony; and the sacrament of Holy Orders. Like all the sacraments, both are directed to the nature and mission of the Church. Through Matrimony, the Christian community is itself built up at the family level. In Holy Orders, the Christian community is provided structure and direction for the exercise of its mission.

 

The Sacrament of Matrimony is the marriage covenant bond between baptized persons, which was raised by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. Marriage is symbolized in and modeled on the love of Christ for the Church, His bride. Marriage is regulated by divine law, church law, and civil law.

 

Holy Orders is the Sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ, through which spiritual power is given with the grace to exercise properly the respective office. The sacrament is permanent in character, meaning that it cannot be repeated, and that it ordains one for all eternity. The Sacrament of Holy Orders as seen in scripture and the tradition of the Church is the laying on of hands, not only to give the Holy Spirit, but also to confer authority and spiritual powers. Men are ordained in the Church as deacons, priests and bishops. The threefold role of the ordained to teach, to minister, and to govern, is also a part of the effect of the Sacrament.