In the fall, I worked at a conference and heard a speaker casually say, “the Sacraments are there to destroy you.” I was sitting on a hard gym floor (and admittedly, I was only half listening) but this statement made me do a double-take. I mean, that doesn’t sound right, does it? What do you mean, something good and from the Lord is going to destroy you?
Now, I am still a new-comer to the world of the Sacraments so it isn’t unusual to find myself in uncharted territory, but this statement has really stuck with me and continues to twirl about in my head, 3 months later: The sacraments are there to destroy you!
Following his proclamation, the speaker went on to describe how each of the Sacraments have been instituted with the purpose of chipping away the “you” parts of your life – the sinful, mean and ugly, fleshy parts – and replacing them, instead, with Jesus. It is the life-long journey to be filled with (as Jeremy Camp sings) “more of you[God] and less of me.” And because Jesus yields the perfect, holy, beautiful, can’t-live-without-you stuff that our hearts truly long for, the Sacrements are perfect tools for receiving this grace.
As I reflect on this idea – that the Sacraments destroy you – I realize how true this statement is. For me, joining the Catholic Church is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It requires faith. It requires forgiveness. It requires me to trust that God’s plan is bigger than mine. I requires me to ask a lot of questions. It requires me to love. It requires me to be patient. Most importantly, it requires me to consciously ask the Lord to take away the ugly parts of me (which means I have to admit them to myself first), so that I can come before Him in complete humility and surrender, as clean as possible, ready to receive Him into my entire being.
So my prayer is for perseverance in my faith journey and the continued desire for holy destruction in my life – because while the preparation may be difficult, it is also amazing. Pray for me, I am praying for you.