Evidence that Sacraments Make a Difference
#11
Disillusionment is a terrible thing.
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Our Church is full of this now.  I suspect that every Catholic family is touched by disillusionment.
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The journey back is difficult, but it can be done.
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#12
(08-17-2018, 02:11 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(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.

I don't doubt God one bit - I was changed by the preaching of His Word.  

The poor behavior of people of high ordination does throw a big wrench into the sacrament equation.  Especially when you see the unsacramented have faith that is producing genuine fruit.

For by grace you have been saved through faith.  I see God's grace flowing through those who have faith, but of the people I know, many of them living how I'd expect to see God's people do not receive sacraments.

My friend is sharp, and probably more moral than many of the clergy.  The fact that Catholics today contracept, abort, cohabit and divorce at the same rates as the rest of the world are tough arguments to overcome, when asking if sacraments make a difference.

This is the most logical explanation I can find:

1.  Romans 10:17 - Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.  

2. We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9).

Most places I go, the preaching of the Word is mediocre at best, often so lopsided with "love, love, love" one is never called to the hard things or challenged.  The idea of what love is has been converted to being not offensive.

Is this one of the big reasons there is a crisis of faith?

Even so, I'm not sure I can make a case for sacraments with this line of thought.  For following God's Word and for good preaching, yes, but not sure it's a case for sacraments being the main channel of grace.
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#13
(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?
Peace.....one has to be in the proper disposition to receive communion and also living the gospels which includes a fervent prayer life and Confession.  If one is just popping in and out of masses on holy days with their mind on other things during the whole liturgy, then forget it - they are not receiving properly.  While we have days of obligation, we can't turn this whole event into an obligation without the love and desire to receive Jesus in our hearts.  A lot goes back to how people were catechized and how their families were living out the faith too.  Perhaps you can say something politely of course, to bring this to the attention of those wandering away. 
 God bless, angeltime :heart:
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#14
With regards to Holy Communion, it is, in essence, the act of Christ making love to His Church.  i.e. the marriage act

If you consider how it is that two married couples can engage in the beauty of their Sacramental marriage act for 25 years, and one couple is more in love than ever while another couple is ready for divorce, it is clear that one couple was open to making use of the graces available to them and the other wasn't.

Part of being open to making use of those graces is being humble enough to continue to learn. It's having the desire to learn and grow in love and overcome problems and make amends.  You gotta wanna. 

I can't imagine trying to grow in the spiritual life without confession.  It's so essential to self-examination and accountability as well as the grace of the breath of Christ received through the priest.

Above all, it's very clear that the Church has been infiltrated and full of imposters preaching a false gospel.

The parishioners who attend the Latin Mass are not perfect by any means, but by and large, do not contracept or cohabitate or whatnot.
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#15
Also, how many in the pews at the average Novus Ordo parish are in a state of grace?

I don't mean to be judgemental, but when you consider the percentage of Catholics who contracept alone, and then add in the other sins, it's got to be a very, very, high percentage.

I also conjecture that most don't even know they aren't in a state of grace.

I was never taught about mortal sin or making sure I was in a state of grace before receiving Holy Communion growing up and neither are many Catholics.

I received First Holy Communion before I made my First Confession.

I brought up the sin of sacrilege to my Father-In-Law a while back and he asked what that meant.  He attended all Catholic schools and was an MP altar boy in his youth.  As an adult, he became a "Eucharistic Minister" which he saw as a great honor.  He told my kids the Latin Mass stuff was all just for show.  :(

When my nephew left the faith my FIL was trying to get him to go back to Mass.  I mentioned that he should go to confession first and he got visibly upset and said he was just trying to get him to feel the spirit of things.  I said it was a mortal sin to receive Communion like that and he asked how I knew my nephew had committed a mortal sin as if I was being judgemental. I said it's obvious if he's been missing Sunday Mass.

I explained that it's just like sex before marriage.  The lower you set the bar for things, the less meaning it has.
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#16
(08-17-2018, 09:06 AM)Sacred Heart lover Wrote: Also, how many in the pews at the average Novus Ordo parish are in a state of grace?

I don't mean to be judgemental, but when you consider the percentage of Catholics who contracept alone, and then add in the other sins, it's got to be a very, very, high percentage.

I also conjecture that most don't even know they aren't in a state of grace.

I was never taught about mortal sin or making sure I was in a state of grace before receiving Holy Communion growing up and neither are many Catholics.

I received First Holy Communion before I made my First Confession.

I brought up the sin of sacrilege to my Father-In-Law a while back and he asked what that meant.  He attended all Catholic schools and was an MP altar boy in his youth.  As an adult, he became a "Eucharistic Minister" which he saw as a great honor.  He told my kids the Latin Mass stuff was all just for show.  :(

When my nephew left the faith my FIL was trying to get him to go back to Mass.  I mentioned that he should go to confession first and he got visibly upset and said he was just trying to get him to feel the spirit of things.  I said it was a mortal sin to receive Communion like that and he asked how I knew my nephew had committed a mortal sin as if I was being judgemental. I said it's obvious if he's been missing Sunday Mass.

I explained that it's just like sex before marriage.  The lower you set the bar for things, the less meaning it has.
Peace.....well, there are many attending Latin Mass and it is to recover the purity of the Liturgy and not for show.  One has to know the history up to present day.  I was thinking this morning how we all need to go to confession much more often and cleanse our souls but also do prayer, penance and fasting for all of the horrible sins committed - by ourselves but the clergy too now.  We need more purity and authentism in our lives and worship.  We haven't been sincere enough.....God bless, angeltime
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#17
Quote:Peace.....well, there are many attending Latin Mass and it is to recover the purity of the Liturgy and not for show.

Yes, and sadly my son was an altar boy at the Latin Mass when his grandpa told him this.  He lost interest soon after.
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#18
(08-17-2018, 06:45 AM)Markie Boy Wrote: The poor behavior of people of high ordination does throw a big wrench into the sacrament equation.  Especially when you see the unsacramented have faith that is producing genuine fruit.

But not supernatural fruit.

A Protestant, Jew or Atheist philanthropist might be the most naturally virtuous man, but it does him nothing toward his eternal, supernatural end. Natural virtue is a real good, but only a natural good, which can only dispose us well for supernatural grace.

(08-17-2018, 06:45 AM)Markie Boy Wrote: For by grace you have been saved through faith.  I see God's grace flowing through those who have faith, but of the people I know, many of them living how I'd expect to see God's people do not receive sacraments.

It may happen that a particular person who professes to be a Christian is in the state of grace, but his Faith is not a Supernatural Faith. It's impressive what their human faith can do, but if it is not the supernatural virtue of Faith, then again, all that natural effort is only dispositive.

(08-17-2018, 06:45 AM)Markie Boy Wrote: My friend is sharp, and probably more moral than many of the clergy.  The fact that Catholics today contracept, abort, cohabit and divorce at the same rates as the rest of the world are tough arguments to overcome, when asking if sacraments make a difference.

There are really two questions here :

1. Do the Sacraments produce grace in the soul of the person to whom they are given?

2. Why do people who receive the Sacraments often not act like they've been given grace from the Sacraments?

It sounds like you friend isn't asking the first question, but really the second. If he is framing it as the first question, it is only because question two naturally leads to question one.

The answer to number two also answers number one : Grace builds on Nature.

If a houses foundation is flawed and it is falling into the sea, a new porch, new paint on the exterior and fiber Internet connection is pretty useless. Those things only are effective when the foundation is solid.

The same with our souls. If we are naturally virtuous, and follow the natural law and try to restrain our passions by natural means, then the infusion of grace by the Sacraments (and other means), has a solid foundation to build upon, or a well-manured field in which to grow. If the soul is a mess and nothing is done to try on a natural level to build virtue, then grace can do very little.

If the Sacraments alone were necessary, then everyone who is Baptized would get to heaven, and we would really only need the one Sacrament.

What we're dealing with here is the Parable of the Sower. God's grace, even though the Sacraments, has to have fertile ground on which to build. If it falls on stony ground, amidst the brambles, if it be left out for the wildlife to devour, it will not grow and produce fruit.

But just as we might then see "fruit" in other places outside of the Church, there are plenty of poisonous plants which seem to produce fruit that is easily confused with real nutritious fruit.

We're also dealing with the Parable of Cockel here. The Enemy has sown temptation and evil among the Church, and God allows it to grow up together, we see the distinction only as things progress. We should not be suprised to see sinners in the Church, because it is a Church for sinners. That applies both to the Catholics who are not faithful and also to those outside the Church who appear to be inside (Protestant Heretics and Orthodox Schismatics), who seem to produce the same fruit as the wheat (Cockel, or Poison Darnel, looks very much like wheat until the ear appears, and is often infected with a fungus which when eaten causes a drunken stupor, hallucinations and often death).

So the first error is to perceive that there is Supernatural Faith or "fruit" outside of the Catholic Church. There may be natural good things, and by chance some souls in the state of Grace, but this is despite their false religion, not because of it.

Next is to expect that the Sacraments are elixirs, curing all ills. Grace works only to the extent a soul cooperates with it, is well-disposed to it, and does not put obstacles in its way.

The Sacraments make a difference, but only if the recipient is well-disposed and then actually uses the graces that he's given.
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#19
(08-17-2018, 06:56 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: The Sacraments make a difference, but only if the recipient is well-disposed and then actually uses the graces that he's given.
Peace.....we keep in mind too, that God gives the grace when He wants to give grace.  If we are like doubting Thomas, then it may take us more time.  We can't expect to receive the sacraments and then suddenly all is transformed beyond belief!  It can be very gradual, but also happen suddenly in a day or a situation, a conversation, in prayer or when we wake up enlightened one morning.  In the meantime, we continue to search, be vigilant, live the sacramental life as we are surrendering more to God.  God bless, angeltime :heart:


Edited by Vox to remove extraneous quoting. Please see How to Post Without Driving Everyone Insane
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