The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
apostolic age the liturgy has been drawn toward its goal by the
Spirit’s groaning in the Church:
The liturgy thus
shares in Jesus’ desire: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover
with you . . . until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of
her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while
“awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great
God and Savior Christ Jesus.”
The “Spirit and the Bride say,
‘Come . . . Come, Lord Jesus!’”
St. Thomas sums up the various aspects of sacramental signs:
“Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what
precedes it—Christ’s Passion; demonstrates what is accom-
plished in us through Christ’s Passion—grace; and prefig-
ures what that Passion pledges to us—future glory.”
The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted
by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine
life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the
sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the
graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those
who receive themwith the required dispositions.
The Church celebrates the sacraments as a priestly
community structured by the baptismal priesthood
and the priesthood of ordained ministers.
The Holy Spirit prepares the faithful for the sacra-
ments by the Word of God and the faith which wel-
comes that word in well-disposed hearts. Thus the
sacraments strengthen faith and express it.
The fruit of sacramental life is bothpersonal and ecclesial.
For every one of the faithful on the one hand, this fruit is
life for God in Christ Jesus; for the Church, on the other, it
is an increase in charity and in her mission of witness.
58 St. Thomas Aquinas,
III, 60, 3.