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Sacramental Understanding and Living

“The sacramental world of classical Christianity...presumes that the world as we see it is an expression of a greater reality that is unseen. It presumes that everything is a continuing gift and a means of communion with the good God who created it. The meaning and purpose of things is found in that which is not seen, apart from which we can only reach false conclusions. The essential message of Christ, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” is a proclamation of the primacy of this unseen world and its coming reign in the restoration of all things (apokatastasis, cf. Acts 3:21).” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The poetry of sacramental theology has been almost entirely ignored in our society, and the repercussions are manifest everywhere—especially in the arts. There is a sharp divorce between the natural and the spiritual. Our flesh and bones are seen as disposable material to be used for a short time and then discarded, instead of as mystical temples of the Divine." (Jonathan Jackson)

“The contemporary Reformed theologian Hans Boersma identifies the loss of sacramentality as the key reason why the modern church is falling apart. If there is no real participation in the eternal—that is, if we do not regard matter, and even time itself, as rooted firmly in God’s being—then the life of the church can scarcely withstand the torrents of liquid modernity.” (Rod Dreher)

“...we should not make the mistake of believing that the choice is between a sacramental or a sacrament free, secular life. Sacramentality is built into our very being. It is the most profound part of our human nature and we can not escape it. No, the choice is rather which sacramental life we wish to live.” (Archpriest Lawrence Cross)

“The one who is most free is the one who turns the work of his hands into sacrament, into offering. All he makes and all he does are gifts from God, through God, and to God.” (Mark Buchanan)

"It is this presence of the Holy Spirit within the created order that makes for creation’s unique and innate sacramentality." (Archimandrite Sergius)

“…sacramentalism had a much broader and deeper meaning in the mind of the Middle Ages. People of those days took all things that existed, even time, as in some sense sacramental. That is, they believed that God was present everywhere and revealed Himself to us through people, places, and things, through which His power flowed.” (Rod Dreher)

“Any time we take something neutral, something material, and we make something out of it for the sake of giving glory to God, it becomes sacramental, it becomes a channel of grace…An image makes present that which it represents.” (Father Martin Bernhard, St. Basil the Great)

“We live in what could be called an iconic world of God’s creation. All that God created might be said to bear the imprint of God Himself. Not that everything is God, but everything bears the glory of God.” (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)

“…yearning for meaning and truth that all humans have is simply a manifestation of the metaphysical structure of all reality.” (David Bentley Hart)

“The Church is the sacrament of the Kingdom – not because she possesses divinely instituted acts called “sacraments,” but because first of all she is the possibility given to man to see in and through this world the “world to come,” to see and to “live” it in Christ. It is only when in the darkness of this world we discern that Christ has already “filled all things with Himself” that these things, whatever they may be, are revealed and given to us full of meaning and beauty. A Christian is the one who, wherever he looks, finds Christ and rejoices in Him. And his joy transforms all his human plans and programs, decisions and actions, making all his mission the sacrament of the world’s return to Him who is the life of the world.” (Fr. Alexander Schmemann)

“Everything that lives and breathes is sacred and beautiful in the eyes of God. The whole world is a sacrament. The entire created cosmos is a burning bush of God’s uncreated energies. And humankind stands as a priest before the altar of creation, as microcosm and mediator… All things are sacramental when seen in the light of God. Such is the true nature of things; or…“the truth of things,” if only we have the eyes of faith to see it. (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew)

“Classical Christianity is the true materialism, revealing a dignity of the created order that never enters the sentiments of the modern mind. Our modern sin and failure is not found in loving material things too much – rather, we love them too little and in the wrong manner. We love our ideas about things and how we feel about things. Nothing is therefore loved for itself, but only for the sentiments that arise from its misuse.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The human being as part of the creation is not self-sufficient and autonomous for it owes its origins and existence to that Being whom we commonly call God. The human quests for identity and understanding of its place in the world, for creative self realization in history are realized in truths extant in and revealed by the Creator. And the Creator is both an inner presence and a cosmic reality, endocosmic and exocosmic.” (Demetrios J. Constantelos)

“The more a man leads the spiritual life, the more he becomes spiritualised: he begins to see God in everything; the manifestation of His power and might in everything; he sees himself always and everywhere abiding in God, and depending from God even in the smallest matters. But the more a man leads the carnal mode of life, the more carnal he becomes: he does not see God in anything, not even in the most wonderful manifestations of His divine powers - he sees flesh and matter in everything, and nowhere, nor at any time, is God before his eyes [Psalm 36:2].” (St. John of Krondstadt)

“The Sacrament of Baptism incorporates us into the Church, the Body of Christ… Confession is the Sacrament through which our sins are forgiven, and our relationship to God and to others is restored and strengthened.” (Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald)

“Baptism and repentance have been linked from the beginning. In both Matthew 3:6 and Mark 1:5 it says that people coming to John the Baptist were being baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins…Paul said John baptized with a baptism of repentance (Acts 19:4)…Baptism initiates Christian life. We continue it though Holy Communion and repentance.”(Sacramental DVD/CD Disk 1)

"Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility.” (Saint John Climacus)

“The Kingdom is personal, not national or ethnic, and its entrance requirements are repentance and spiritual rebirth.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 3:3)

"Repentance would be better defined not by saying:"O my God, I am sorry for my sins,” but rather by this:"O my God, I love you with all my heart and all my soul and all my strength.” This is total repentance.” (Anthony De Mello)

"All Christians are priests in Christ.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Titus 1:5-9)

“The word"priest” means"offeror” and, according to the Church, all human beings, clergy and laity, are supposed to be offerors in that we should offer our lives and all we have first to God because they are God’s.” (Sacramental Living)

“…the…Christian sees mankind as a priest and creation as his church. How could a priest ever desecrate his own church? How could he not see it as God’s gift to him, to be offered up on the altar, sanctified by grace, and then returned to him for his salvation.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“...the entire natural world is what we might call"sacramental”—not a sacrament in the strict theological sense, but nevertheless a symbolic system apt for the communication of spiritual realities.” (Stratford Caldecott)

“Anything in Creation can be of a sacramental nature, if it tells the believer something of God and imparts Gods grace to him.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)

“If you want your children to follow God, you must make God a part of your everyday experiences. You must teach your children diligently to see God in all aspects of life, not just those that are church related.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 6:7)

"...most people actually are interested in theology, once the details are brought out, and particularly when it becomes clear that theology really does touch our everyday lives, that its shape shapes us in everything we do.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“The Hebrews were extremely successful at making religion an integral part of life. The reason for their success was that religious education was life-oriented, not information-oriented. They used the context of daily life to teach about God.” (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 6:7)

"...we must not create a split in the Christian life by assuming that all activity is somehow dangerous to the spiritual life. The spiritual life is not a life of quiet withdrawal, a hothouse of growth of artificial ascetic practices beyond the reach of people living ordinary lives. It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.” (Thomas Merton)

“It’s easy to see God in the miraculous. It’s not so easy to see Him in the mundane. But that’s where most of us live...This is all the more reason why we need to be sensitive to His voice—so we can be aware of and attentive to the subtle ways in which He works.” (Charles Swindoll)

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