The Power and Grace of the Sacraments: Reflections from Father Boucher During National Vocation Awareness WeekRead Now
I really don’t spend much time on Twitter, and usually just end up logging in when someone sends me a link or I’m really trying to procrastinate. I found myself in the latter category the other day, and a tweet by Bishop Robert Reed (@BpRobertReed) of the Archdiocese of Boston stopped my scrolling fingers. His tweet read: “Not even a deadly virus can contain the power and grace of the Sacraments. Veni Sancte Spiritus!”
Having just been ordained a priest at the end of August, everything is still pretty new to me. And that’s all in the midst of a pandemic! I’m now almost beyond the “firsts” of priestly ministry: first Mass; first confession; first anointing; first funeral… Yet, I’m constantly reminded of the great beauty, power, and grace of these sacramental and liturgical moments. Despite this terrible pandemic, “nothing can contain the power and grace of the Sacraments.” The Holy Spirit is still at work in our world, using the words and hands of priests to become present in a world that so desperately needs God.
Now—more than ever—we need God and we need the sacraments. The sacraments of the Church are how God enters our lives in grace-filled encounters. As our Catechism reminds us, “The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us” (CCC, 1131). The sacraments are efficacious, which means that they do something. They aren’t just nice things that pious believers receive to make them feel better. There is power and grace in each sacramental encounter, where we receive a share in the “divine life” of God. What a great gift that God freely gives us!
This week, the Church celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week. We each have a unique call, a unique vocation from God. We received that call through the grace of our baptism, “the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit” (CCC, 1213). God calls and invites some of the baptized to respond to the grace of baptism by serving Him, the Church, and the People of God through vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life. No matter which vocation God calls us to, we know that God desires our happiness and our holiness. We need courageous women and men at this important time in our Church and our world, and we should pray often for good and holy vocations to build up the Church. Come, Holy Spirit!
“Let us try to do great things for the glory of our Creator and recall that it is divine grace which sanctifies us and makes us saints. Therefore I am very confident that our heavenly Father will fill us with such a grace. The love of God and Jesus should drive us on to do everything. Caritas Christi urget nos.” (Opere Complete, Volume X) -St. Vincent Pallotti
For helpful resources about vocational discernment, please click here.