Much has been said and written about the sacraments. A different way of approaching the sacraments and their effect on us might be to speak out of them, as it were; to find a point of departure not so much in our thoughts, as in our experience. We might seek out those feelings, impressions and experiences that arise in us through the sacraments. At times these can be so subtle and delicate as to be almost imperceptible. Then again, they may be clear, immediate and full of strength. Some of us may want to share our experiences in conversation or write about them. Others may want to write about their own lives with particular reference to the unfolding of their religious life and the influences the sacraments have had on them.
A general starting point
could be questions like: What was my own experience when I received a sacrament? And how was it when I experienced someone else receiving that sacrament? Did it change my life in any way? What were my life circumstances at the time? Would I describe receiving the sacrament as a threshold experience, or rather as receiving a something that strengthened me on my journey?
What was my experience of my godparents, how did the relationship develop? What was it like to be a godparent (a guardian, as the sacrament calls it)? Where did I experience His presence, communion with Him, and how did I seek to bring it to life?
What is the difference between childhood and youth? How can I describe this step from one state to the other? How did I experience it within myself, within others? What was the experience of Confirmation like? As a child, I was surrounded by loving individuals who cared for me so that I could have a childhood. After confirmation, as a young person, my own inner authority grew – how did that come about? How did it develop?
The Act of Consecration of Man and Communion
How has my relationship to the Act of Consecration and to Communion grown and developed in the course of my life?
Can I put into words how the experience of this sacrament works within and on me?
How does the event of the Marriage sacrament live in the community of life between husband and wife? What about the struggles and failures?
Ordination of priests
Which impressions live on in me after experiencing an ordination? How do I experience someone I knew before and who is then ordained? What is it like to have studied to become a priest but then not to have been ordained?
The Last Anointing
What is my experience when the threshold of death is brought so directly to consciousness?
Contribution by Ulrich Goebel