WEEK TWO: Sacraments (Celebrating the Christian Mystery)
DAY 3: “I Just Melted” (The Sacraments of Initiation)
I remember asking my Dad before he passed away how it is that he and Mom never fought throughout their nearly 50 years of marriage. He said that, when they were dating, Mom once stood him up because she was unable to get back in time from another outing. He said he was all set to ream her out the next day. When she walked through the door with her big puppy dog eyes and said, “I’m sorry,” my Dad says, “I just melted. After that, we never fought.”
We normally associate the word melt with ice or candle wax. In both of these examples, a solid is transformed to liquid. In the case of wax, a candle can be re-formed and re-shaped. This image of melting and re-forming has also been applied to the human heart.
“My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.” (Psalm 22:15)
This suggests clearly that the human heart – the core of a human being – can be reshaped and reformed. For Catholics, the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist – serve to reform and reshape us into followers of Christ. We are forged into union with Jesus and the Church. Through Baptism, our sins are forgiven and we begin the process of being reformed and reshaped. Through Confirmation, we are shown the way to the Kingdom by the Holy Spirit who shapes us into the image of Christ. In the Eucharist – the real presence of Jesus in our lives – we find the nourishment that sustains us on this journey and keeps our hearts pliable.
The Sacraments of Initiation lay down for us the pattern of re-forming our lives that we will follow the rest of our lives: dying to sin and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, rising to new life in Jesus Christ who sustains us. In the Sacraments of Initiation, our hearts melt like wax and are re-formed and re-shaped to conform to Jesus.
As a spiritual exercise, take the following words to heart (memorize them) and pray them as a reminder of how the Sacraments of Inititiaton reshape our hearts to be more like Jesus:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
Reflection Questions: Choose one of the following questions and share your thoughts with your fellow retreatants by adding your comments in the comments box below this post.
- When was a time that you “melted?” Who in your life seems to always be able to make you melt?
- What causes your heart to harden?
- How has Jesus reformed and reshaped your heart?
- How do the Sacraments of Initiation reform and reshape us into followers of Christ?
- How does your baptism continue to reshape you?
- How does the Holy Spirit, in whom you were sealed in Confirmation, continue to shape you into the image of Christ?
- How does the Eucharist keep your heart pliable?
Loving God, through Baptism, you brought me out of slavery to sin and reformed and reshaped my heart. Holy Spirit, in Confirmation, you guide me along the path, helping me to remain faithful and helping my heart to remain pliable. Lord, Jesus, Christ, you sustain me through the Eucharist, nourishing me so that I might continue to be formed into your image. Holy Trinity, thank you for the grace of the Sacraments of Initiation. May this grace which saves me from sin lead me to everlasting life. Amen.
CCC References: 1212 – 1410
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
I hope you’re enjoying our online summer retreat, Preparing for a Year of Faith! Take a few minutes each day at your convenience to “gather” here on my blog as we seek to add some flavor to our faith lives by deepening our understanding of the truths of our faith as given to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Learn more about the Year of Faith. Watch a brief video explaining what this online retreat is all about.
A persons heart is hardened when s/he is constantly faced with the same set-backs or when another person is constantly doing something negative which will reflect or impact ones life. It is very easy to get angry at times like this and act on impulse but upon further reflection you see that you’ve been too harsh and redeem yourself. Jesus redeems and reforms my heart when I get a chance to ponder upon my actions and see that the person who has caused me to hurt just isn’t capable of giving more of him/herself. It is up to me who has more knowledge and understanding of God’s great love to step up and take up the cross.
I attended a 6 week seminar 2 years ago called Life In the Spirit. This for me helped to shape me more in the Image of Christ.
I was Baptized in the Spirit. Water is poured in your hands and you are anointed with oils.
I received the gift of being able to minister to the sick through Jesus. With the help of the Holy Spirit I was given the right words to say. I was also given the gift of healing.
Addicts harden my heart. I dont know how to help them want to get help.
I work with children ages 3 to 14. Of course, the little ones require lots of energy and endless patience. With preschoolers bouncing off the walls, its easy to lose some if not all of that patience, but invariably there will be a little voice saying something adorable or a little facial expression that just makes you melt on the spot.
Sometimes when family or friends don’t meet my expectations my heart may harden. I always realize quickly that we are all different and react differently deoending on the situation. I always ask for forgiveness and realize i’ve been too quick to anger. I only wish i could learn from these experiences and not repeat the same mistakes. (over and over)
I am blessed that God always seems to forgive my transgressions.
A while back, someone in my family did something that hurt a lot of us very much. I was having a really hard time with forgiveness. During prayer, I realized that at my final judgment, God will not say to me that everything I’ve ever done is OK, but that in spite of what I’ve done wrong, God loves me. That, I could offer to my relative.
My dad & my stepmom can always melt my heart. As they are older now I loose my patience sometimes when I feel I need to “cater” to their needs. But I realize all the caring things they did for me and our family as I was growing up and still do to help me be the person I am today. I say a prayer, take a deep breath and melt.
The Eucharist helps to keep my heart pliable because I am reminded each time I go to Mass and say “Oh Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof…” that all the Lord gives me is “gift” – that I cannot earn or deserve anything on my own. Bev
Truly doing Eucharist I feel less than worthy to be given such a beautiful opportunity. Every time I stand at the lectern to profess the Word of God, my heart becomes more pliable.
Every time My husband and I are with the children and grandchildren together my heart melts to know that God blessed me with them. That every day I thank the Lord for them and continue to ask for strength to continue going, the wisdom to guide them and the courage to help the maintain the path to Lord.
What causes your heart to harden?
Anger causes my heart to harden. It causes me to turn further from God. Anger can lead you to say or do unpleasant things. This seems to occur mostly when driving and encountering rude drivers. I try to let the anger pass and instead of an obscene gesture, I make the sign of the cross towards the driver and ask God to touch their hearts.
The Eucharist keeps my heart pliable when I stop to think about Who I am receiving! It’s Jesus! Inside of me? I don’t have to sneak through a crowd just to touch His robe…I get to proudly walk down the aisle and receive Him in full communion with the Church! I bring Him back to my seat with me. I savor the fact that He is alive inside of me and I know that I am just a little bit stronger because of it.
My sons can melt my heart no matter what kind of day I am having how horrible I feel when I see them when they say something especially I love you mom my heart melts and they can do it every time!
Going to Mass and receiving Jesus. This makes me melt. It is such a fulfilling experience.