This month, as we honor our Blessed Mother through the Rosary, we are also striving to become disciples of Christ by
. A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ to give grace. These gifts from Jesus transform the most ordinary of things (water, oil, bread, wine) into living encounters with our Creator. Thus our experience of the sacraments should transform the most ordinary events of our day into living encounters with God.
When we begin to live sacramentally, we put on the eyes of God - the eyes of Faith. We are able to see that through our Baptism, by the outpouring of water on our heads coupled with the saving words, we are made a new creation. We become God's sons and daughters, beloved by Him, and destined to share His eternal life! Then we look at those around us and we see that they too have been elevated to this very high dignity. This should move us to treat one another with the utmost care and concern - for my neighbor is also most beloved by God and made to share eternal life with me. When we put on the eyes of Faith we are able to see Jesus dwelling in each of my family members, each of my friends, and even those I have difficulty getting along with. When Blessed Mother Teresa encountered a particularly difficult or distasteful person as she served the poor, she would see in them "Jesus in His most distressing disguise." She could see in them the saddened heart of Jesus as He experienced the hatred of the Roman soldiers or the wounded body of Jesus that was scurged and crucified. Do we see Jesus even in His most distressing disguise in all those we encounter?
The disciple who lives sacramentally also makes room for God to transform his life through the sacraments. With the eyes of Faith we can recognize that we are not living up to the high calling we have been given (after all, can any of us say that we have followed Jesus' command to "be perfect, just as my Heavenly Father is perfect?"), but with St. Paul we cry out confidently: "I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me" (2 Corinthians 12:9). The sacraments are most effective when we are weak because it is then that we recognize our great need for God's grace! This meeting of our weakness with Christ's great power is most evident in the sacraments of reconcilliation and the Eucharist.
In reconcilliation we feel this weakness most keenly as we acknowledge the times in which we have failed God, have been disloyal to His love. And through this confession we experience the healing hand of Jesus that frees us from the heavy chains of our sins. In the Eucharist we receive the very life of God into our hearts that strengthens us each day as we walk the narrow road toward Heaven. "The Eucharist is a precious nourishment for faith: an encounter with Christ truly present in the supreme act of His love, the life-giving gift of Himself" (
44). The great gift of the Eucharist bonds us to the person of Christ and helps us to put on the eyes of Faith. It is a safeguard against mortal sin, which separates us from Him and it unites us more closely to one another. Even before we are able to receive Holy Communion, as little children we can begin living sacramentally through the practice of spiritual communions. A spiritual communion is a brief prayer said in our heart asking for the grace of receiving the Eucharist. It nourishes our hearts and provides a way for us to be united to Jesus when we cannot receive Him physically in the Sacred Host. We see the beauty of this practice witnessed to in the three small children of Fatima.
"As such, the pirmary means to cultivating virtue is living the sacramental life... As the first disciples walked with Christ on the road to Emmaus, the sacraments strengthen the disciples of modern times as they walk the path to life" (
Disciple of Christ: Education in Virtue)
. May we begin to live sacramentally today as we journey toward Heaven!