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
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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.