The Son of God made Himself present to the world in the human nature of Jesus.
Jesus is the sign of His Father to us; the Church is the sign of the presence of Jesus to us.
Jesus used signs--sacraments--of His presence in ministry during His life: water, bread and wine, touching, spittle, mud, etc.
The Church, the Body of Christ, defines the extension of these signs of His presence in ministry from Apostolic times.
The Bible sets the goal for the life of the Christian--"be holy," "perfect as the Father," "put on Christ."
For the Christian, all stages of spiritual growth in holiness are accompanied by incarnational signs wherein the spiritual becomes physically present--Christ in created nature, present to the Christian as he or she grows in Christ.
Sacraments of initiation into the faith community are Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation--Christ present in rebirth, nourishment and empowering.
Sacraments of healing and restoration are Reconciliation and Anointing--Christ present to restore spiritual and physical health.
Sacraments of life for the Church are Matrimony and Orders --Christ present replenishing and building up His Body.
(Link to Graphics Version of this chapter Part 1 of 2)
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
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Last Updated: January 3, 1997