I remember visiting my grandmother’s home as a boy. Like many Catholics in her days, she had so many religious articles that her home was like a shrine. Statues, pictures, rosaries and other devotional objects were everywhere. There was not one room in the house that didn’t have something religious. These devotional items were a constant reminder of my grandparents’ Catholic faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that sacramentals were “instituted by the Church” for our sanctification. They are not magic. Unlike the Sacraments, sacramentals have no power on their own; their aid comes through the intercession of the Church. The spiritual benefits they provide are dependent upon our faith. Jesus used objects as sacramentals. When He healed the blind man, Jesus spread some mud on his eyes. The Acts of the Apostles relates how the early Church took handkerchiefs that were touched to St. Paul’s body “to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.”
Unlike the days of our grandparents, many Catholic homes are devoid of anything religious. The current culture has made religious goods things for old people and children. Yet, we are missing out on many aids to our spiritual lives without them. Sacramentals give us a visible reminder of who we are and our call to holiness. Sacramentals, like a crucifix and holy water, provide protection from evil. They can also serve as a silent source of evangelization. Sacramentals give us the opportunity to sanctify every area of our lives.
Father Jay Finelli serves as pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Tiverton, and hosts the iPadre Catholic Podcast & Blog, which can be accessed by visiting www.iPadre.net.
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