Forty days after his Resurrection, Jesus gave the disciples a command. What two things did Christ convey in this command to his Apostles?
By what means did Christ command his Apostles to bring people into the mystery of his own life?
In simple terms, what is grace?
What is the pattern of sin and forgiveness related by the story of Adam and Eve?
What does it mean to say mankind is created in God’s image and likeness?
Aside from having “mastery” over the created world, who else did Adam and Eve have “mastery” over?
By eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God’s will. What, precisely, was their sin?
How is the particular sin of Adam and Eve still present with us? Give some concrete examples.
Following the sin of Adam and Eve, how did God set into motion his plan to repair the damage that had been caused by Original Sin? Where do we find this in the Bible, and what is it called?
Thousands of years passed between the sin of Adam and Eve and Jesus’ victory over sin and death. Why did God wait so long? Why did he not simply fix the damage immediately?
Whom does God intend to be the recipients of his grace and love?
In the covenant God made with Abraham, God promised Abraham land. This promise was later fulfilled through . God also promised to make Abraham a great nation. This was fulfilled through the kingship of . Finally, God’s promise that Abraham would be a source of blessing for all nations was fulfilled in the Person of .
God always seems to have difficulty getting people to cooperate with his plan. For instance, Adam and Eve turned their backs on God and his wisdom. How did the people listed below react to God’s call to cooperate with his plan of salvation? (Students will need a Bible to complete these items.)
a. Sarai / Sarah (Gn 18: 9 –15)
c. Jonah (The Book of Jonah)
d. Jeremiah (Jer 1: 6 – 8)
e. Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist (Lk 1: 8 – 20)
f. The angel appeared to Mary and told her she will be the mother of the Messiah. Mary responded, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” How does Mary’s response to God differ from the Old Testament figures mentioned above?
At the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew (28: 18 – 20), before his Ascension into Heaven, Jesus gives his parting instructions to the Apostles:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:18 – 20).
In the days that followed the Ascension, where were the Apostles, and what did Jesus do to help them?
The text states that Jesus founded his church, they Mystical Body of Christ. For what purpose does it say he did this?
The text states, “Like Christ himself, his Mystical Body the Church is a sacrament, a sign which conveys grace, and it is in the sacraments of the Church, and in the very life of the Church herself, where the believer can have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.” We might envision this graphically as follows:
a. If a sacrament is a sign that conveys grace, why is it proper to call Jesus a sacrament? (Hint: In Col 1:15, St. Paul calls Jesus the “image of the invisible God.”)
b. Why, then, is it proper to refer to the Church as a sacrament?
What was the sacramentum of ancient Rome, and how is it similar to the Sacraments of the Church?
Why is it correct to say God’s creation is itself sacramental by nature?
What does it mean to say sacraments are efficacious?
Christ is present and gives us grace in the Sacraments. What are we called to do?
When we celebrate or attend the celebration of any sacrament, we see the visible signs and actions of the , who acts in the Person of , who accomplishes the sacramental action.
Whenever anyone approaches the Church to receive a sacrament, there will be an encounter between that person (or couple in the case of the Sacrament of Matrimony) and the minister(s) of the sacrament.
a. What would happen if a person were to receive a sacrament from a minister who was not leading a holy life?
b. What would happen if a person were to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist while in a state of mortal sin?
c. What should a person do if he or she has received the Eucharist while in the state of mortal sin?
The two principal types of grace are and .
Why does God give actual grace?
Another term for sanctifying grace is .
Explain the differences between actual and sanctifying grace.
For grace to be effective in any individual, what is also necessary?
The active power of sanctifying grace is weakened by and can be lost through . In either case, through the worthy and frequent reception of the Sacrament of , our relationship with God can be restored. Furthermore, the graces received help to avoid future sins.
The text states that sometimes, unfortunately, the sacraments are received not out of a desire for God’s grace but out of human concerns or social, cultural, or familial expectations. Give some examples of how this might happen with the various sacraments.
List the three divine calls associated with the sacraments.
What is the matter used in any given sacrament?
What is the form used in any given sacrament?
What would happen to the efficaciousness of a sacrament if the matter or form used for the celebration were incorrect (e.g., if the words of consecration were not used at Mass or if grape juice was used instead of wine)?
What is a sacrarium, and how is it used?
If an atheist or a Christian who does not believe that the bread and wine of the Sacrament of the Eucharist become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus were to receive Holy Communion, what would be the effect of such an action on the Blessed Sacrament?
Would such a person benefit from receiving the Blessed Sacrament? Why, or why not?
Explain how there can be Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church and a Latin Rite of the Catholic Church without there being two Catholic Churches.
We have studied earlier in this chapter how aspects of God’s creation can have a sacramental nature. The inspiring story of Bl. Otto Neururer relates how he used God’s grace to transform toil, torture, hunger, disease, and hatred into a place of Redemption and the antechamber of Heaven. The claim of such ugliness having a sacramental character might strike many as strange or even repugnant. Yet, where have we seen this before?
At the end of each chapter of this workbook will be a Pastoral Corner. Here, we will examine some real-life applications of the Sacraments. Sometimes we will find some insights as to how the Sacraments work in ways that we might not have considered before. Other times we will consider some of the problems that priests, catechists, and others who work in the “front lines” of the Church encounter in their daily lives. With this in mind, consider the following questions.
Knowing it was his Father’s plan that he would ascend into Heaven, Jesus established the Church to continue his mission on earth until he comes again (Mt 16:18 – 19). Furthermore, he entrusted his Apostles with his own divine authority to announce the forgiveness of sins (Jn 20:23), change bread and wine into his own Body and Blood (Mt 26:26 – 28), and carry out the rest of the work of the Church in proclaiming the Gospel and bringing people into the Kingdom of God through Baptism (Mt 28:19 – 20). In 1 Timothy 2:5, St. Paul states that there is only one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. If Jesus is the only mediator, why would we need a Church, a priest, or sacraments to have access to God’s grace? (Hint: While Jesus is the way to the Father and our eternal High Priest, how has he decided to exercise his own priesthood?)
Some Christian denominations teach that becoming a Christian means “accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior” without necessitating any connection to the Church. While a person may be encouraged to receive Baptism and associate with some Church community, this would be secondary or even optional; the real event of salvation comes from “accepting Christ.” The Catholic Church teaches that sacraments are efficacious and that through them God bestows his grace. How would you answer someone who said that Baptism is not necessary for the Christian life? (Hint: 1 Cor 12; 1 Pt 3:21)