Magazine article Momentum

Holy Things to a Way of Living

Magazine article Momentum

Holy Things to a Way of Living

Article excerpt

Eat oread. Drink wine.

Try to sing the song of Christ.

Live life. If you can dance, dance.

Everywhere grace awaits.

Desire to love, to love.

- from Out of Cana, " Maura Eichner (1989)

We are a people of ritual and celebration. We have frequent opportunities to rejoice in the ways God enters into our lives. In our formal, perhaps more organized, life of being Catholic, with the church we mark the rhythms of our human journey with wine, water, bread, oil, incense, gesture and touch. These ordinary elements are incorporated into the church's sacraments- our encounter with God in a public and visible way.

Those old enough remember the "Baltimore Catechism" definition of a sacrament- "an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace." It was a definition once memorized by literally thousand of us to explain the events of our lives and of the life of our community, those grace-filled occasions when God is present to us in the most important public experiences of our lives, the extraordinary events. We acknowledge the seven sacraments as special ways to encounter God.

Beyond the formal sacraments, there are other grace-filled occasions that make up our way of living and our Catholic view of the world. We Catholics hold the principle of sacramentalityasan essential part of our belief system, of our world view. Richard McBrien in "Catholicism" (1994, p. 1196) says "no theological principle or focus is more characteristic of Catholicism, is more central to its identity, than the principle of sa era mentality."

It means we are aware that God is present to us in the everyday ordinariness of our lives. Our responsibility in this human-divine covenant is to develop what Thomas Groóme (2003, p. 92) names sacramental consciousness, to be "alert to the more in the midst of the ordinary," to step back and recognize that more is going on than we might first think. The "more" is God's presence and grace. Sacramental consciousness is the realization that God dwells in real things, not in a detached "up there. …

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