The historical events of Jesus’ Suffering, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven is known as the Paschal Mystery. The word Paschal actually comes from the Hebrew word for Passover. The Paschal Mystery is very closely connected to our salvation: “He (Jesus Christ) accomplished this work (salvation) principally by the Paschal Mystery of his blessed Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension, whereby ‘dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life’ …” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1067)
It is this Paschal Mystery that the Church proclaims and celebrates in the Liturgy, so that we the disciples of Jesus may live from it and bear witness to it in the world (Cf. CCC 1068). The entire liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the Sacraments (Cf. CCC 1113). The Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and were entrusted to the Church. Therefore, they are efficacious signs of grace and through them, the divine life is dispensed to us (Cf. CCC 1131).
We must remember that the Sacraments signify three things: Cause, Effect and End. Cause is the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ; Effect is the grace, that is dispensed to us; and the end is the eternal glory, that is partly experienced already now on earth and will be experienced fully in heaven (Cf. CCC 1130). From the moment a Sacrament is celebrated, the power of Christ and his Spirit acts in and through it, independently of the personal holiness of the minister. However, the fruits of the Sacrament depend on the disposition of the one who receives it. In other words, even though it is Christ who acts through various Sacraments showering his grace in various stages and occasions of our life, the Sacraments are not effective unless the one who receives them does not receive with due faith. If the recipient has no faith in the power of God, then the Sacraments become ineffective (Cf. CCC 1128). Therefore, let us strive to receive the Sacraments with true faith and devotion and be filled with the saving grace, that Jesus Christ offers with gracious love.
God bless you,
Fr. Arul Joseph V.