Sacramentals, Superstitions, & Making the Ordinary Holy

As we conclude our series on sacramentals, the greatest way we can safeguard our use of them and not become superstitious is to remember that sacramentals are not infallible in their effects. They cannot be used as a “lucky charm” that works every time, no matter the disposition. A person cannot simply wear a Brown Scapular and expect to receive copious amounts of grace, nor can we invite a priest to bless a football field and expect our team to win. We must have a strong faith in God’s action or else it will become an empty ritual, lacking any personal effect.

It is important to know that the Church has given us these sacramentals for the purpose of our holiness and the holiness of those around us. Jesus wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives and sacramentals remind us of that and allow His graces to flow in every corner of society.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, sacramentals can sanctify “almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows from the Paschal mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ...[t]here is scarcely any proper use of material things which cannot be thus directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God” (1670).

Additionally, similar to the seven sacraments, sacramentals are “signs” to us that remind us of our duty to know, love and serve God. Having a crucifix visible not only in the home, but also in the car and office reminds us to keep God in all my thoughts and actions. Inviting a priest to bless chickens reminds us that God is the creator of all things and keeps all things in existence; we are only stewards of His creation. Keeping a rosary in our pockets, reminds us to pray on a daily basis.

Sacramentals are a great gift to us, but we must use them with care. They are meant to be channels for us, opening the floodgates of Heaven's graces.

In the end, sacramentals can have great power in our lives, if we let them. They have been instituted by the Church so that Christ’s presence can be everywhere: in our homes, workplace and everywhere in between. Sacramentals remind us that we must give our entire selves to God and not lead a divided life. Yet, we must use them properly in order for them to have an effect on our spiritual lives. With a proper disposition, sacramentals can be a conduit of grace that will propel us to sanctity. Our spiritual life must not begin and end with going to Mass on Sundays. It must continue on throughout the week and sacramentals are a vital tool that the Church has given us to make that a reality. Read the Entire Series

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