Evidence that Sacraments Make a Difference
#1
I have a friend that left seminary.  He saw so much poor behavior within the Church - not necessarily of what's in the news, just poor treatment of people.

After leaving and joining the work world he commented that the people in a factory were possibly nicer than those in the Church management.

He asked me for evidence that sacraments make any difference.  I have nothing for him.  On average I feel I have seen as much  poor behavior by people that receive sacraments regularly as those that don't, at least in my world.

Actually some of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know don't go to Mass regularly, while I know enough that won't miss a Holy Day or Sunday, yet they are the hardest to deal with, often unfair and mistreating others.

On top of this we have all these bishops that have received higher ordination that us - yet behave soooooo poorly.  Actually ordained clergy seem to have a much higher rate of certain sin that the general population.

When he asks for evidence that sacraments actually make a difference I feel I don't have much, practically speaking.

Any thoughts?
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#2
I've wondered about this myself.

Someone once explained that grace is like a lovely gift given to you.

You can refuse the gift, take it and throw it out, put it in a closet, open it but never use it, use it and show off as if it's a boon to your image, or graciously open it and use it with gratitude for the rest of your life.

We have to cooperate with the grace and grow in knowledge of the truth so God's word is in our hearts that we might not sin against Him.

Kind of like taking vitamins but never exercising and wondering why you're not built like a bodybuilder.

Plus, not everyone has the same starting line when it comes to virtue and some are encountering demons you can't even begin to know about.  Satan especially torments and tempts those who attempt to advance in the spiritual life.

Plus, pride blinds so many Christians and creates huge blind spots.

The sower and seeds parable also explains the problems very well.
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#3
I suggest watching Fishie Roger Buck's videos on YouTube, and reading his books, The Gentle Traditionalist and Cor Jesu Sacratissimum.
Jovan-Marya of the Immaculate Conception Weismiller, T.O.Carm.

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#4
(08-16-2018, 11:16 PM)Markie Boy Wrote: I have a friend that left seminary.  He saw so much poor behavior within the Church - not necessarily of what's in the news, just poor treatment of people.

After leaving and joining the work world he commented that the people in a factory were possibly nicer than those in the Church management.

He asked me for evidence that sacraments make any difference.  I have nothing for him.  On average I feel I have seen as much  poor behavior by people that receive sacraments regularly as those that don't, at least in my world.

Actually some of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know don't go to Mass regularly, while I know enough that won't miss a Holy Day or Sunday, yet they are the hardest to deal with, often unfair and mistreating others.

On top of this we have all these bishops that have received higher ordination that us - yet behave soooooo poorly.  Actually ordained clergy seem to have a much higher rate of certain sin that the general population.

When he asks for evidence that sacraments actually make a difference I feel I don't have much, practically speaking.

Any thoughts?
 
There are many traditional Catholics around the globe that believe the Sacraments in the local dioceses have become invalid, given that they were all butchered at Vatican II.....therefore they are no longer providing as much graces to the faithful, resulting in far fewer good fruits.

They believe this because Christ founded the Sacraments, and therefore (just like everything else in the Deposit of Faith) they cannot be changed. Some example quotes on the subject:
  • "It is well-known that to the Church there belongs no right whatsoever to innovate anything on the substance of the Sacraments" Pope St. Pius X, Ex quo nono, 1910
  • "Now it is clear, if any substantial part of the sacramental form be suppressed, that the essential sense of the words is destroyed; and consequently the sacrament is invalid." Summa Theologica, Whether it is lawful to add anything to the words in which the sacramental form consists?
  • "...the Council of Trent teaches (Conc. Trid., Sess. VII, can. 1, De Sacram, in genere), the seven Sacraments of the New Law were all instituted by Jesus Christ Our Lord, and the Church has no power over "the substance of the Sacraments," that is, over those things which, as is proved from the sources of divine revelation, Christ the Lord Himself established to be kept as sacramental signs." Pope Pius XII, Sacramentum Ordinis, 1947
I would say evidence for the value of the Sacraments can best be found in writings on the lives of the Saints, especially before Vatican II..
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#5
The sacraments work in proportion to the recipients disposition. Most people these days receive communion merely because "It's what Catholics do". They rarely prepare at all and rush off after mass without giving thanks. Many of them are probably in mortal sin. You can go to daily mass every day of your life but if you want to actually get something out of it you need to treat it like it really is.

As to virtues. Many virtues are aquirable by non-Catholics but the theological virtues; faith, hope, and charity can only be given by God and are first received in baptism, non-Catholics can only approximate them. These are the essence of growth in the spiritual life, they can also be fairly invisible unlike other lessee virtues like patience and chastity. This is because the world cares nothing for true faith hope and charity, it disregards them preferring false worldly versions.

In order to grow in virtue you must practice it, otherwise it wilts and dies turning into vice.

These are the reasons why the Catholic Church has both saints and sinners. The sacraments are not magical vending machines "celebrate one mass and receive 10 grace". They are a way of life. A sharing in the Divine Life.

Even an atheist can be patient and kind but they can never participate in the Divine Life without the sacraments.
Surréxit Dóminus vere, Alleluia!
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#6
(08-16-2018, 11:16 PM)Markie Boy Wrote: When he asks for evidence that sacraments actually make a difference I feel I don't have much, practically speaking.

Any thoughts?

I'm not sure if there is "concrete" evidence that sacraments work, but...

...I'd argue it depends on how much the person is truly willing to engage with the sacrament (not sure of the proper term). For example, if one struggles with lust and goes to frequent confession, yet only goes through the motions of the penance, and doesn't take the advice of the confessor, can a change be expected?

I guess in more secular terms, it could be equated to spending big bucks to see a headshrinker about a problem. The doc gives you advice based on what you tell him, but you've already decided "Screw the headshrinker, I'm doing my own thing," then wonder why things don't get better.

(08-17-2018, 12:16 AM)jovan66102 Wrote: I suggest watching Fishi Roger Buck's videos on YouTube, and reading his books, The Gentle Traditionalist and Cor Jesu Sacratissimum.

Both are great books. I'll second the recommendation. :)
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#7
When an ex-seminarian is asking for evidence, they are looking for you to be an answer, not for you to give one. He is bitter. Be a good friend, but don’t engage the bitterness.
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#8
I spent many enjoyable summers growing up with my friend and her parents at their house on the coast.

Her Dad was an English professor who was educated at Holy Cross and received his doctorate at Yale.

He had many good stories to share, but one, in particular, I will never forget.

As a young married man ascending on his academic career, he started to find himself losing his faith in the real presence.  

It started to seem rather silly to him, a man of great learning, to believe a piece of bread could...well...I mean really?

He began to wonder why he attended Mass at all anymore.

Finally, one Sunday, as he approached the reception of the Sacrament, he asked God in great earnest to please reveal Himself in some way.  He wanted to believe but asked God to please give him some sort of sign the Holy Eucharist was real.

When he looked down upon his hand at the host, he was taken aback, for it was actually pulsating like a human heart!

His testimony had a great impact on my faith and he went on to lead many others to find the true faith as well.
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#9
(08-17-2018, 01:50 AM)Credidi Propter Wrote: When an ex-seminarian is asking for evidence, they are looking for you to be an answer, not for you to give one. He is bitter. Be a good friend, but don’t engage the bitterness.

This precisely!

The Sacraments, by definition, are visible signs of an invisible grace. Thus they are a matter of Faith. He wants you to show him that invisible grace, nay he wants you to prove something which is held by Faith.

Call his bluff, and be a good Catholic and support for him. Buy him a beer and be a good friend, but don't engage his bitterness.
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#10
(08-17-2018, 12:16 AM)jovan66102 Wrote: I suggest watching Fishie Roger Buck's videos on YouTube, and reading his books, The Gentle Traditionalist and Cor Jesu Sacratissimum.

Actually, I'm going to slightly change my advice. Ask him to watch Mr Buck's videos, and buy the books for him, if you can afford it.

Don't misunderstand me, it's not that they won't help you in your journey!
Jovan-Marya of the Immaculate Conception Weismiller, T.O.Carm.

Vive le Christ-roi! Vive le roi, Louis XX!
Deum timete, regem honorificate.
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