The sacraments are the privileged presence of Jesus accompanying his Church. Each sacrament is a personal meeting with Him. It is He who has taken the initiative of offering us – from birth to death- a sacrament for each important moment of our life as believers. In baptism he welcomes us as children of God, his Father and makes us his own. The Eucharist is spiritual food that strengthens us for growing and fighting against evil. In reconciliation he shows us his compassionate heart so that our weaknesses may not discourage us. Confirmation emphasizes the presence of the Spirit in us. Marriage and priestly ordination give a special power to undertake a particular way of life and sustain us in them. In the sacrament of the anointing of the sick we experience the healing presence of Jesus in our physical weakness.
Claret lived the sacraments not as empty or magical rituals, but as an intimate and deeper relationship with Christ. “How fervently and with what devotion and love” (Auto. 38 & 40), he exclaims when remembering his Eucharistic experience as a child. His usual meeting with the Lord in the Eucharist is “indescribably tangible”, “When I am before the Blessed Sacrament, I feel such a lively faith that I can’t describe it. Christ in the Eucharist is almost tangible to me; I kiss his wounds continually and embrace Him. When it’s time for me to leave, I have to tear myself away from his sacred presence” (Auto. 767). This intimate relationship with Jesus- Eucharist (Auto. 695) was being deepened throughout his life to the point of arriving at “the great grace” (Auto. 694) and feeling called to fight the hostile powers against God.
How do you live the sacraments? Are they merely a “good habit” or are they a permanent process of deepening your life of faith and commitment to love?