Catholic Culture: What are sacramentals?

Jun 30, 2022

A sacramental is a holy thing through which wonderful holy things are given. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1667, sacramentals “are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the Sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them, men and women are disposed to receive the chief effect of the Sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy.”

While a Sacrament is an outward sign that gives grace, a sacramental is usually a thing such as a scapular, ashes received on Ash Wednesday, holy water or religious medals.

About 20 years ago this month, I began to wear the Miraculous Mary Medal. As an example of its spiritual nature, almost immediately, lovely things began to happen. As I was carrying the Book of the Gospel to the pulpit, I found myself looking up at the large picture of Mary with the 12 apostles which is over the pulpit at Queen of Peace and whispering in my mind, “Mary, my mother, you gave birth to Jesus our Lord, let me give birth to Jesus when I preach to God’s people today.”

Holy Mother Church has understood from the very beginning that when Jesus said from the cross, “Son, behold your mother”, He was giving us His mother to be our mother also. Sometime later, Mary helped me again. ‘Twas the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2002. I heard the lector reading: “You have been chosen by God, before the world began, to be holy, to be blameless in His sight, to be full of love. In my mind I said, “How is this possible, me holy, me full of love, me blameless in His sight?” ‘Twas then Mary spoke within me, “What happened to me must happen to you.” I knew exactly what she meant: for me to be made holy, the Holy Spirit must come upon me as it did her, the power of the Most High God must cover me with its shadow as it did her and then me. Patrick Joseph, her son, will no longer live; Christ her Son will live in me. All this Mary has done for me through the sacramental I wear daily.

By Father Patrick O’Doherty, Queen of Peace Parish – June 30, 2022