"'Spiritual combat' is another element of life which needs to be taught anew and proposed once more to all Christians today. It is a secret and interior art, an invisible struggle in which we engage every day against the temptations, the evil suggestions that the demon tries to plant in our hearts." Saint John Paul II
CatholicSacramentals.org is your online source for information on the sacramentals of the Catholic Church, specifically the Crucifix, Holy Rosary, Brown Scapular, Saint Benedict Medal, Miraculous Medal (Medal of the Immaculate Conception), Holy Water, Blessed Oil, Blessed Salt and Statues. Our online shop provides heirloom quality items for sale hoping to foster devotion to the power of the Church's sacramentals.
Although we have stressed the truth that the sacramentals derive their efficacy chiefly from the intercessory power of the Church, we may not minimize the role played by man's own subjective dispositions. The sacraments, too, for that matter, demand something of the individual recipient--at the very least that the subject place no obstacle in the way of grace. But in the case of the sacramentals man's cooperation has a very large part to play if they are to attain their full purpose. Their function is to provide an atmosphere in which the virtue of religion can thrive, and to produce a psychological reaction in man, to raise his thoughts and aspirations out of the realm of the profane and up to the realm of the sacred, to fix his heart on the things of the spirit, to impress on his consciousness God's will for him and God's providence always hovering over him.
Sacred Heart Holdings LLC and CatholicSacramentals.org hope to provide all people of good will with an opportunity to understand sacramentals and how they are to be used with devotion and faith. Please use this site as a source of catechesis and devotion.
To be baptized is to be immersed in Christ's death, to be buried with Christ, to be risen with Christ to new life. From this sacramental fact or experience we derive all our Christian glory: we are washed clean from original sin and all personal sins, we are marked with the ownership of Christ by a brand or indelible seal, filled with divine life, enhanced with supernatural gifts, reborn children of God, and made members of Christ's mystical body.
"I tell you truly that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it dies, it brings a good harvest." By the paschal mystery of death and resurrection Christ made an end of the deserved condemnation to everlasting death brought by Adam upon his seed, and simultaneously raised up to new life His own posterity, heirs according to the promise. By the paschal sacrament of baptism our own death and resurrection with Christ is signified and effected in sacramental mystery.
“Sacramentals obtain favors from God through the prayers of the Church offered for those who make use of them, and through the devotion they inspire.”
Sacramentals should not be thought of as contracts, investments, or good luck charms. To wear the scapular does not give us free reign to commit mortal sin and still be assured of heaven. The scapular is a symbol of Marian devotion and a silent prayer to Our Blessed Mother in heaven for salvation that she most certainly will not ignore. Using holy water is not an infallible wiping away of our venial sins unless we have contrition for our sins when we use it. The power of sacramentals, then, depends greatly on the devotion of both the priest who gives the blessing and the person who is receiving the sacramental. They depend on the prayers of the Church, the prayers of the blessings that are imposed on them, and the merits of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Mother, and the Saints. Of themselves they do not save souls, but they are the means for securing heavenly help for those who use them properly.
On the second Sunday in Lent...I saw the Lord face to face. I seemed to see against my face another face, which, according to St. Bernard, “was not contained under any form, yet gave form to all else; which did not strike the eye of the body, but charmed that of the soul; which was lovable, not through the brightness of its color, but through the gifts of its love.”
It is but Thou, my God, who can know how not only my soul, but also all the powers of my heart found pleasure in this happy vision, in which the brightness of Thine eyes, like two suns, looked straight into my own...
When then Thou didst approach Thine adorable face, in which is found an abundant source of all joy, close to my own, so greatly unworthy to touch it, I perceived a gentle light proceeding from Thy divine eyes and passing through mine, spreading itself in every secret part of me, and seeming to fill all my members with a wonderful power and strength.
WORDS OF OUR LORD, SPOKEN TO ST. GERTRUDE:
All those who meditate frequently on the vision of My Divine Face, attracted by the desires of love, shall receive within them, through My Humanity, a bright ray of My Divinity, which shall enlighten their inmost souls so that they shall reflect the light of My Countenance in a special manner throughout eternity.
In order to attend to one’s eternal salvation it is necessary to possess a docile and sensitive heart, one ready to recognize divine inspirations and to follow them. This is what Solomon asked of the Lord: “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong” (1 Kgs 3:9). St. John declares that souls who belong to God listen to his divine inspirations and put them into practice: “ ‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me” (Jn 6:45). Our hearts, by their very nature, are stubborn and inclined to follow the desires of the flesh and are opposed to the law of the spirit. However, they are softened by the inflow of God’s grace which comes to them through prayer. In prayer, souls are moved to reflect on the divine goodness and the love which God bears toward them. As a result they are inflamed with love, their hearts are opened, and they become responsive to God’s call.
De Liguori, A. (1999). The Practice of Mental Prayer. In F. M. Jones & B. McGinn (Eds.), T. J. Moran & F. M. Jones (Trans.), Alphonsus de Liguori: Selected Writings (p. 303). New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.
EVERY man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars. He who knows himself well becomes mean in his own eyes and is not happy when praised by men.
“HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord. By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ.
No man is fit to enjoy heaven unless he has resigned himself to suffer hardship for Christ. Nothing is more acceptable to God, nothing more helpful for you on this earth than to suffer willingly for Christ. If you had to make a choice, you ought to wish rather to suffer for Christ than to enjoy many consolations, for thus you would be more like Christ and more like all the saints. Our merit and progress consist not in many pleasures and comforts but rather in enduring great afflictions and sufferings.
Never desire special praise or love, for that belongs to God alone Who has no equal. Never wish that anyone’s affection be centered in you, nor let yourself be taken up with the love of anyone, but let Jesus be in you and in every good man. Be pure and free within, unentangled with any creature.
I taught the prophets from the beginning, and even to this day I continue to speak to all men. But many are hardened. Many are deaf to My voice. Most men listen more willingly to the world than to God. They are more ready to follow the appetite of their flesh than the good pleasure of God. The world, which promises small and passing things, is served with great eagerness: I promise great and eternal things and the hearts of men grow dull. Who is there that serves and obeys Me in all things with as great care as that with which the world and its masters are served?
It has been said that it is safer to listen to advice and take it than to give it. It may happen, too, that while one’s own opinion may be good, refusal to agree with others when reason and occasion demand it, is a sign of pride and obstinacy.
The good life is the virtuous life. Obedience is the virtue of sacrificing our own will for the will of a legitimate authority.