Join me and other Catholic bloggers at Hallie’s Lord’s blog (she’s guest hosting for Jen at Conversion Diary) for 7 Quick Takes Friday. I’m a little late in posting today because my internet connection has been intermittent. Anyway…better late than never!
Today’s 7 Quick Takes includes a favorite memory from each of the Sacraments.
From the Baltimore Catechism: “A sacrament is a sign instituted by Christ to give grace.” As human beings with a tendency to sin, we need the sacramental graces to help us get to heaven. I remember one religion book comparing the sacraments to rungs on a ladder (and of course the ladder goes to heaven). Frequent use of the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist are essential.
I love baptisms…it’s one of my favorite sacraments. As a cradle Catholic, I obviously don’t remember my own baptism, but I do remember my youngest sister’s christening and all my sons’ baptisms, as well as the baptisms of the many god-children we have. If I had to choose one memory, however, it would probably be the baptism of our unborn baby in June of 1993. Our baby was lodged in my fallopian tube. At the time, the doctor didn’t give us any other option except to remove our baby from my tube. It was a heart-wrenching decision. On the one hand, we desperately wanted our baby. On the other hand, our baby was growing quickly and causing me to hemorrhage internally. Although we sought spiritual direction, our faithful priest wasn’t sure of the moral way of dealing with an ectopic pregnancy. (Note: Back in 1993, ectopic pregnancies were still very rare.) I eventually ended up in emergency surgery. While I was lying on the table being prepped, it occurred to me that our baby needed to be baptized. So I asked one of the nurses if she would “do me a favor.” She responded, “Sure.” I then proceeded to tell her how to baptize my baby once the baby was removed from my tube. While I wasn’t awake when she did it, when I woke up, she told me that she had done what I had requested. This small act of kindness consoled me as I grieved the loss of this little one.
When we were a young married couple, we used to go to Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario for spiritual direction. Confession would usually take an hour or more, not because we had so many sins to confess, but because it often evolved into spiritual direction. I always came away from those lengthy “confessions” with a deep sense of peace and resolve. Confessing your sins to a priest is like whispering into the ear of Jesus. Many people dread confession and for some, it is their least favorite sacrament, but I have found that frequent confession increases humility and gives tremendous graces.
Holy Communion or the Eucharist is one of those amazing sacraments that can be experienced over and over again. One of my favorite memories is receiving Communion for the first time as a married woman (photo at #5).4. Confirmation
I have fond memories of my Confirmation (above). In sixth grade, I transferred to a new parish school in Philadelphia (St. Richard’s) where the children received their confirmation in 2nd and 3rd grade. Since the students in my class had already received their confirmation, I had to join the second and third graders to receive this sacrament. I was 12 at the time and the other students were 8 and 9. Being short, I didn’t look at all out of place. Beyond that memory, I do remember the actual confirmation (photo). My godmother couldn’t attend so an older student acted as my sponsor.
No brainer here. My wedding to James (photo above) was one of the most memorable days of my life. Spiritually, I was still very new in my “re-version,” although I do recall feeling tremendous joy that day. One of my favorite moments of that day was when James and I received Communion under both species. My novel, Emily’s Hope, is the fictionalized story of my “re-version” and how my husband and I met.
6. Sacrament of the Sick
I have had the Sacrament of the Sick administered to me several times, but the one that sticks out clearly in my memory is the time that our friend and spiritual director anointed me during my pregnancy with my fourth son. I had begun having debilitating migraine headaches to the point where I couldn’t function. After he anointed me, I no longer suffered from migraine headaches.
7. Holy Orders
I’ve attended a few Masses where a group of young men became priests and they were beautifully moving ceremonies. My favorite part was when the young men lay flat on the altar. The last time we attended a Mass where a group of men were becoming priests, my toddler said (loudly), “Why are they going to sleep?”
For more Quick Takes, visit Hallie’s Lord’s blog.
Text and Photos Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach