Chapter I: The Church and the
Sacramental Economy of Salvation
The Incarnation
• God becoming man
and taking on human
flesh like us is referred
to as the mystery of the
Luke 1:26-38
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee
named Nazareth,
27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of
David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what
sort of greeting this might be.
30And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor
with God.
31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall
call his name Jesus.
32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord
God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there
will be no end."
34And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
35And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the
power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
36And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a
son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37For with God nothing will be impossible."
38And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me
according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Various Artistic Renditions of the
Which depiction “speaks” to you the
• St. Augustine – “visible signs of invisible grace”.
To understand the Sacraments, we must make
invisible visible.
Jesus Christ Is the Sacrament of God
• Sacramental Economy – the
system that Christ uses to make
Himself and his saving graces
present to us, using the liturgy
• Liturgy – official public
worship of the Church; the
Mass is the most important
• Jesus’ desires to share our life,
our tragedies and joys; this is
accomplished in the Church’s
Christ is the Prime Sacrament
• Jesus is also a “mystery” that cannot be fully
explained or understood.
• The Mystery of how Jesus can be fully man yet
fully divine at the same time is referred to as the
hypostatic union.
• New Testament – gives us a glimpse of the
historical Jesus and His words and actions of
proclaiming the Good News of Salvation. This
was recorded by the four evangelists.
How is Jesus a Sacrament?
• Sacrament – an outward visible sign of an
invisible grace
• Jesus is the perfect, most complete visible sign
of the Father’s presence and love
• Definitions: Jesus, Christ, Messiah
Jesus as the primordial sacrament
• Jesus is the only way to God the Father
• Jesus is the reason for, and the basis of, all
Seven Sacraments
• Jesus is an efficacious sign for He effects and
makes present the love of God
• Summary: Jesus points to God’s love while at the
same time He is God’s love for us as He
reconciles the world to His Father
Sacramentals: “Mini-signs” of God’s
What are “sacramentals”
• A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ
for the purpose of giving grace to our souls;
sacramentals are also an outward signs, but unlike
sacraments they do not give us grace, rather they
dispose us to grace or they arouse in us feelings of
faith and love.
• A sacramental can be used as an instrument of
God’s grace.
• The effectiveness of a sacramental depends on our
own interior faith in God and personal prayer life.
• Sacramentals can be things or actions.
Examples (things):
Images of Jesus and Mary; images of the saints
Examples (actions)
• Blessings – objects, places, and individuals
• Exorcisms – a special kind of sacramental in
which the Church, in Christ’s name, commands
the devil to leave the body of whom he has taken
• Notes on Exorcism: requires investigation to
rule out mental disturbance; only a bishop or a
priest appointed by the bishop can perform the
ritual; rarely takes place, but when they do the
church insists respect and secrecy
Review: Three dimensions of a
1. A sacrament is a mystery
2. A sacrament is a visible sign of the unseen
divine reality.
3. A sacrament is an efficacious sign – something
that makes real what it signifies.
Three dimensions of the Church
I. The Church is a mystery (Ephesians 5:32)
A. The New Testament writers described the Church
in symbolic language and images:
• Sheepfold (Jn. 10:1-18)*
• Flock of sheep (Jn. 21:15-19)
• Field or a vineyard that needs to be cultivated (Jn.
• Building of God (Eph. 2:19-22)*
• Bride of Christ and Mother (Eph. 5:25-27)
• New Jerusalem (Kingdom of God) (Rev. 21:927)
Three dimensions of the Church
II. The Church is the visible sign of the unseen
divine reality
• The Church is the visible sign of Jesus Christ,
who is the perfect sign of the Father’s saving
• And as the visible sign of Christ’s presence in
today’s world, the Church has four
characteristics or marks: ONE, HOLY,
Commercial: Catholics Come Home
The Four Marks of the Church
• The marks of the Church can be seen as a “genuine
trademark”. Marks of the True Church of God.
1. The Church is ONE
• One in belief and doctrines– the truths that we profess
come from God and not our own private opinions; we
believe that God’s truths are unchangeable and same for
all people
• One in worship – Catholics can go anywhere in the world
and feel at home spiritually; everywhere the same Mass,
everywhere the same seven sacraments
• One in spiritual leadership or government – Catholics
have a binding center of authority in the bishops and the
Pope (Holy Father)
The Four Marks of the Church con’t…
2. The Church is HOLY
• The founder of the Catholic Church is Jesus
• The teachings of the Church are holy and
consistent on matters of faith and morality
• The countless saints and martyrs are proofs of
the holiness of the Church and divine origin
• The Church provides the means for all of us to be
The Four Marks of the Church con’t
3. The Church is CATHOLIC
• “catholic” means “universal”
• The Catholic Church has been in existence at all times
from the time of the apostles to the present day. It is the
only Church that has been in continuous existence for
2,000 years.
• The Catholic Church is the only Church that teaches all
truths taught by Jesus as He taught them (i.e. Penance,
Anointing of the Sick, Real Presence of Jesus in the
Eucharist, the Pope, etc.)
• The Catholic Church has been universal in extent – it’s
in every country; it belongs to no nation or race; it is at
home at every land, but is the property of none
The Four Marks of the Church con’t
4. The Church is APOSTOLIC
• It’s leaders (popes, bishops, priests) and
authority traces their succession all the way back
to the first apostles, to whom Jesus established
His Church.
• The Church teaches intact the teachings and
traditions of the apostles.
• Complete summer reading
• Read pages 21-23 and do Review Questions on
page 23
• Organize your notebooks/binders; Notebook
Test on Thursday
The Mission of the Church, the Body of
“As the body is one,
though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the
body, though are many,
are one body, so also
Christ. For in one Spirit
we were all baptized into
one body.” ~ 1 Corinthians
The Church as the Body of Christ
• This image reminds us that as members of the
Church, we become a member of the Mystical
Body of Christ, with Christ as it’s head.
• This idea affects our understanding of our
relationship with God, with one another and the
rest of the communion of saints (all the
members of Christ’s Body in heaven , earth, and
The Body of Christ: types of
1. The Communion with Christ and the Church
• Whenever we things Christ did in His name (Mt.
25:34-40), we grow in our communion with
Christ and the Church.
• Whatever we do as Catholics, we act as the Body
of Christ, as Christ Himself in today’s world.
The Body of Christ con’t…
2. Communion with Other Catholics
• Unity with our fellow Catholics around the world
in union with our bishop and in union with the
• This is strengthened whenever we pray for the
Pope and bishops, and encourage unity among
one another, especially in our communities.
The Body of Christ con’t…
3. Communion with other People throughout the world.
• The Church is joined, albeit imperfectly, with our fellow
• The Church shares some unity with non-Christians – such as
the Jewish people (who first received God’s covenant), and
with the Muslims who profess a belief in the one God.
• The Church shares some unity with all people of goodwill.
• Human Solidarity -- We see our interconnectedness with one
another as as brothers and sisters in Christ. We share in the
joys and sufferings of all humanity.
• Social Justice -- Catholics work together with believers and
unbelievers alike to promote the dignity of life, just laws, and
the common good.
The Body of Christ con’t…
4. Communion of Saints
• Our unity with all the living faithful, and all the
deceased – in heaven and purgatory.
• This unity has two meanings: communion in the
spiritual goods and communion with all the holy
people in heaven and earth
Communion of Spiritual Goods
• Communion of Faith – we share the same beliefs we
inherited from the apostles.
• Communion of the Sacraments – the sacraments unite
us to God and with our fellow believers on earth, heaven,
and purgatory.
• Communion of Charisms – we collectively share in the
gifts or charisms of every individual who uses them to
build up the Church and for the good of all.
• Communion of Goods – we share our goods with others,
especially the poor.
• Communion in charity – every good act benefits the
whole Body of Christ; every sin harms harms the Body of
Communion of all holy people
• The saints in heaven prays and intercedes for the
living and those being purified in purgatory;
• The living prays for strength and aid from the
saints in heaven,
• The living prays as well for those who have died.
The Church, the Channel of Grace
• Through the Church we are transformed into the
Body of Christ  We become the Church – a
sign and instrument of Christ’s presence in the
How does each of the Seven
Sacraments transform us as Church?
(See Page 21)
• Baptism – makes us members of the Church; we are reborn as
children of God.
• Confirmation – our union with Christ and the Church is
strengthened; we are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help us
spread and defend the Catholic faith.
• Eucharist – we are nourished and strengthened by Jesus in the
• Penance or Reconciliation – forgives sins and restores our unity
with God and the Church
• Anointing of the Sick – strengthens the sick and the suffering; helps
them to unite their sufferings to the passion and death of Christ
• Holy Orders – enables bishops, priests, and deacons to nourish the
Church with the word of God and the Sacraments
• Matrimony – strengthens couples in their marriage to help one
another become holy, build their lives together, and build up the
church by accepting and educating their children in the faith.
Our three-fold mission as priests
prophet and king
• By carrying out the
mission of Christ
in today’s world we
share in his
mission as priest,
prophet, and king
Our Mission as “Priests”
• Not the same as the ministerial/ordained priesthood
of bishops and priests.
• All who had been baptized as “priests” because all
are called to offer themselves to God in worship,
become holy, and help others grow in holiness
• to become holy – we become united with God in
▫ Each sacrament enables us to share God’s life in a
particular way – this type of grace that we receive is
called sacramental grace.
Types of Grace
• Sacramental Grace
• Sanctifying Grace – a sharing in the life God that
transforms us and makes us holy
• Actual Grace – a specific divine help that enables
us to perform a good act such as forgiving, avoiding
a habitual sin, and being courageous in doing the
right thing.
• We have to be in the state of grace (free from
mortal sin) in order for grace to increase or take
• Grace transforms and increases in us the virtues of
faith, hope, and charity (theological virtues)
Our Mission as “Prophets”
• Whenever we witness to truth in our words,
actions, and examples; as well as when we
encourage others, we share in Christ’s mission as
• The laity (those baptized but not ordained),
shares in the prophetic mission by allowing their
faith to transform the world around them (at
home, work, schools – the public) and bring
others to Christ.
Our Mission as “King”
• Whenever we work for justice, peace, and serve
others in charity, we share in Christ’s mission as
• The Church carries out this “royal mission”
through its work in the missions, the poor and
homeless, educational ministries, etc.
Conclusion: threefold mission
• Whenever we involve
ourselves in the threefold mission of Christ as
priest, prophet, and
king, we become a sign
and instruments of
Christ’s presence, we
become a type of

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