Thursday, September 01, 2011

Catholic Q&A: Part 13

This post continues my series of short answers to common questions about Catholicism. For the previous parts in the series, see the "Catholic Q-A Series" blog label.

Why are the sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony referred to as “sacraments at the service of communion”?

Holy Orders is a sacrament at the service of communion because through it a man is empowered to be a ministerial priest, who's duty is to reconcile man with God and bring about communion via the celebration of the sacraments. The grace that we receive in the sacraments strengthens our communion with the Lord and the bonds that exist between the members of the Body of Christ.

Matrimony is a sacrament at the service of communion because in this sacrament a man and a woman enter into a profound communion with each other and they dedicate the rest of their lives to ensuring the communion of their spouse and their children with the Lord.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say:
1534 Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.

Why did Jesus perform miracles?

Jesus performed miracles in order to prove that He was the Son of God and to confirm and validate His message. Once the people saw that He was capable of performing extraordinary acts that defied the laws of nature, then they came to see that He was no typical man. As Jesus said, "But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John [the baptist]; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me" (Jn 5:36).

When did Catholics begin to celebrate Pentecost?

Pentecost is one of the most ancient feast days of the Church because it was a continuation of the Jewish feast of Pentecost. It makes perfect sense that Christians from the earliest times would celebrate the day when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and provided for the Church’s initial flourishing.

Tertullian, an early Church Father from the second century, mentions Pentecost in his letter On Baptism. This is probably the earliest reference. A document from the fourth century called The Apostolic Constitutions mentions Pentecost as well.

Pax Christi,

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