Sacramentals in the Church28 Jan 2016, by Sacraments in
The word sacramental is so very familiar to Catholics; it is a word we hear almost daily. Very familiar as it may be, so many Catholics confuse it for what it is not. This confusion is two-dimensional, the misunderstanding of what it is and the abuse of what they think it is.
Many Catholics have approached and asked me to bless their ‘sacramentals,’ They then present their rosaries, religious medals, candles, scapular, and other religious articles for blessings. I often smiled and blessed them, but I think it is good; we know the difference between sacramentals and religious articles or devotional materials.
The religious articles or devotional materials like rosaries, candles, holy water, the crucifix, etc., are devotional materials or religious articles. Many Catholics call them sacramentals; they are not sacramentals but devotional materials. Sacramental is connected to the liturgical ceremonies of consecrating religious articles; in other words, the religious articles’ blessing is sacramental, and not the objects been blessed or consecrated. If I bless your rosary, the rosary remains a religious object or a devotional material, while the rite of blessing is sacramental. That is why we talk about a sacramental blessing.
These religious articles help our meditations and devotions to God; they help our imaginations and focus with faith. They are not charms, even though I know that the sacramental blessing over them consecrates them and makes them holy. In his own wonderful way, I have no doubts that God can use these consecrated objects as weapons against the devil, but that is not a call to put our trust in them but in God. They are not charms or amulets; they are devotional materials.
As we use these objects in our devotions and prayers, let us have faith in the God who never fails. He is the one who saves and not the devotional materials. Note that these objects are consecrated through the sacramental blessing of the Church; they must be treated and respected as such.