Friday, December 31, 2010
The Deacon as Minister of Sacrament -- Part I
To do that, of course, we need to understand what we mean by "sacrament." So, here's a very, very brief "Sacraments 101".
2) Prior to the Second Vatican Council, theologians began describing a deeper sense of sacramentality than most people appreciated. The bishops at the Council adopted much of this language in their own documents. So, in addition to the seven sacraments of the church, we first speak of Christ himself as the most fundamental sacrament of all: Christ IS the connection between God and humanity. The Church itself can be understood as a sacrament of our encounter with Christ, and then the seven sacraments of the church represent special encounters with Christ. We also speak today of the "sacramental principle": that understanding that all of God's creation can serve as vehicles of God's life. That's why we make such liberal use of ordinary things like water, wine, bread, oil, touch and so on.
It is against this sense of "sacrament" that we can now turn to the role of the deacon in the sacramental life of the Church.