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Posted April 14, 2010

Book: The Sacraments We Celebrate: A Catholic Guide to the Seven Mysteries of Faith
Author: Peter J. Vaghi
Ave Maria Press. Notre Dame, IN. 2010. Pp. 145

An Excerpt from the Flyer

At a time when Mass attendance, Confession, and the celebration of Catholic weddings are all declining, Msgr. Peter Vaghi strives to bring the focus of the Catholic faith and teaching back to the sacraments.

Msgr. Vaghi’s newest book explores the scriptural foundation, history, and symbolism of each sacrament. It contains reflection questions and prayers for use in faith foundation groups or for any Catholic seeking to understand the central actions of the faith.

It is ideal for RCIA groups, adult faith formation programs, small faith-sharing groups, as well as individual Catholics of all ages who want to understand more about their faith.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Eucharist: The Sacrament of Love

The title of this chapter comes from Benedict XVI’s first apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, or Sacrament of Love. The subtitle is On the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission. It was issued on February 22, 2007, following the 2005 Roman Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist.

For me, one of the great privileges of being a pastor is the annual celebration of First Holy Communion and all the preparation that leads to that wonderful spring day. I always include in my homily to the children the beautiful, memorable, and instructive words of St. Therese of Lisieux (the patroness of our parish, Little Flower) about her First Holy Communion. In her Story of a Soul, she writes of her memory of that day as if it were yesterday.

“The “beautiful day of days” finally arrived. The smallest details of that heavenly day have left unspeakable memories in my soul! The joyous awakening at dawn, the respectful embraces of the teachers and our older companions! The large room filled with snow-white dresses in which each child was to be clothed in her turn! Above all, the procession into the chapel and the singing of the mourning hymn: “O altar of God, where the angels are hovering.”

“I don’t want to enter into detail here. There are certain things that lose their perfume as soon as they are exposed to the air; there are deep spiritual thoughts that cannot be expressed in human language without losing intimate and heavenly meaning; they are similar to “. . .the white stone I will give to him who conquers, with a name written on the stone which no one KNOWS except HIM who receives it.”

“Ah! How sweet was the first kiss of Jesus! It was a first kiss of love; I felt that I was loved, and I said, “I love You, and I give myself to You forever!” There were no demands made, no struggle, no sacrifices . . .

What the Little Flower described as “that first kiss of Jesus,” Pope Benedict XVI describes as “nuclear fusion”:

“The substantial conversion of bread and wine into his body and blood introduces within creation the principle of a radical change, a sort of “nuclear fusion,” to use an image familiar to us today, which penetrates to the heart of all being, a change meant to set off a process which transforms reality, a process leading ultimately to the transfiguration of the entire world, to the point where God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28). (SC 11)

Table of Contents:

1. Sacraments: transforming encounters with Christ

2. Baptism: gateway to the Christian life

3. Confirmation: be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit

4. Eucharist: the sacrament of love

5. Eucharist: ever ancient, ever new

6. The healing sacrament of penance

7. Another healing sacrament: the anointing of the sick

8. Holy Orders: apostolic ministry

9. Matrimony: it takes three