Expert Answer Forum
the Sacraments QUESTION from sean May 23, 2000 This is my third posting - the other two are on your occult, new age, demonology forum. I hope I am not overwhellming you with my questions but I find it greatly encouraging and refreshing to read solid Christian answers to the tough questions asked. I am sad to say that that kind of knowlege and love of the Faith is hard to find among the clergy (or any one else) in the area in which I live.
My question, actually, pertains to the state of the Catholic Church in my area. I help lead a youth group in our Church. We have the most thriving, faith-growing, longest lasting group in the area (I believe because God has blessed us for doing His Will) Most of the Catholic youth we minister to, we have found, are not the least bit spiritually mature. They have been Baptized, recieved First Communion, and been Comfirmed in the Church yet have no real relathionship with God and aren't even moving toward a relathionship with Him (until they come to us!)
The reason for this is that when recieving such sacraments that are supposed to give them such a relathionship, they turned out to be futile becuase they were taught by those not strong in thier faith (not knowing what the Sacrament really meant in the first place) I experienced this myself as my Confirmation meant nothing to me at the time. Because of this we try to get the youth to commit or recommit thier lives to God, leading them in a prayer to do so.
I went to a Protestant High School for four years and am well aware that it is very much like an alter call Are we out of bounds? I have to say that we have seen dramatic changes in thier lives once they have prayed to commit thier lives to God - along with weekly teachings, bible study, and occountability with their Christian peers. God Bless you for the work you do, the time you take to answer our questions in this forum, and your edifying faith in the Allmighty God!
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on June 17, 2000 Dear Mr. Sean:
I am thrilled to hear that your program is bring kids into a wonderful and vibrant relationship with Jesus. That work is to be praised.
As for your altar call since you didn't post the prayer that you use, I cannot really comment directly.
But generally, to have the kids re-dedicate their lives to Christ and by that find, perhaps for the first time, a relationship is great AS LONG AS, this is not seen as an additional act of sanctifying grace.
Their Baptism and Confirmation are the acts of grace given in sacrament. This new experience is merely an activating the grace ALREADY there but was dormant.
In the Baptist world, when a person as bee saved but becomes backslidden (not living the life), and they want to return to a vibrant relationship with Jesus, this is called Re-Dedication.
In essence that is what your teens are doing - Re-dedicating themselves since their first dedication (baptism and confirmation) was left dormant.
But this re-dedication is NOT a sacrament. It is merely coming to realize something that you always had.
God Bless your ministry.
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