The search to fulfill our many desires is what leads people through their lives in one direction or another. We live in a time where the dominant belief is that life is short and we should fulfill those desires by any means necessary. That mentality leads people in the wrong direction for actual fulfillment and leads instead to compromising of self. People find themselves astray; feeling empty, distressed, irrelevant, neglected, and bitter. So where should we look in order to find true fulfillment of all that we desire? We find our fulfilment in Christ, and we actually find that our desires are responded to by the 7 Sacraments that the Church offers her members.
So read on for our list on how the seven sacraments each fulfil a separate deep desire of the heart!
One of the desires that is most common in the world is the desire to belong. From a young age, we find ourselves pushed and pulled by the ever-changing tide of our social lives. Are we liked? Are we accepted? Are we popular? Most people become comfortable with who they are as they age and are less concerned with things like popularity, but in spite of that fact, the desire to belong remains. Why? What is so powerful about the idea of belonging that it remains a desire passed the point of the youthful desire to fit in? The truth behind this desire is that we desire to belong to something greater than ourselves. The search for that something greater can lead people to some perilous places, but ultimately the desire is the part of us that yearns for a connection with God and a fellowship with His people. So what has God given us that will fulfill the desire to belong? The Sacrament of Baptism. We receive the Holy Spirit through our Baptisms and we come to understand that we belong to God and are members of His universal Church.
Another overpowering desire that we find ourselves experiencing amidst the incredible and unending amount of chaos in the world and in our lives is the desire for peace. We are surrounded by noise, whether it be on screens, on the streets, or simply in our heads. Noise of one form or another is unavoidable. Another level of noise that plagues individuals is the noise of our mistakes. Most people want to live good lives but there is so much sin and suffering surrounding us all that it makes the straight path seem even narrower. Guilt over the past haunts us and anxiety over the future taunts us. The desire for peace has never been greater and has never been more difficult to attain. So how do we attain it? Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As we prepare for our Reconciliation and enter the confessional, the roar of the noise of guilt and anxiety may increase, but as soon as we confess our sins and find ourselves forgiven and right with God, it will cease and we will have peace. There is simply no other way to truly find peace than to find ourselves at one with God.
Some desires that drive people are more than simple desire…they are needs. Such as the need for nourishment. Obviously, people need nourishment in the form of food and water but the need for nourishment so often becomes skewed and becomes a desire. In this world of instant gratification and with the concept of pleasure reigning supreme in our lives, we are surrounded by food that has been made for the sole purpose of pleasure and has little to no ability to actually nourish and sustain us. These foods have not been made for the purpose of the occasional delight but rather in an attempt to fulfill our desire to be filled by something that will truly satisfy us. But is it pleasure which we are really seeking and what is it that will actually fulfill this desire? The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The desire we are seeking to fulfill while we are busy filling ourselves with food and lifestyles of pleasure, is the desire to be filled by Jesus. God has given us this incredible gift in the form of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and we are literally able to be filled by the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Knowing that, what else could we honestly say that we desire to be nourished by?
Visit any bookstore, and you will find evidence of another strong desire people find themselves having. The desire for guidance. Self-help sections of bookstores are bursting at the seams holding various methods of guidance and the need for that guidance is so great that people will buy book after book in search of the “right path”. People turn to books, magazines, parents, teachers, counselors, life coaches, ministers, friends, Facebook, and even strangers for guidance and while none of these things are inherently bad things, the need for guidance is so strong that the desire to have it filled can lead to less than ideal sources for guidance. So what is the ultimate source of guidance for our lives and how do we find it? The Sacrament of Confirmation. For the second time in the Catholic life, Confirmation marks the auspicious moment of receiving the Holy Spirit and they choose to allow Him to work through them and guide them in their lives. Who could be a better guide in our lives than God? The answer is simple…no one.
What about the people who write the self-help books mentioned above? And those who love when people seek their counsel so they can offer guidance? The desire for guidance is certainly a powerful desire but so is the desire to guide. People want to help others and want to help people with their unique knowledge and experiences and that is a wonderful desire. So how does one achieve this? Do they write books or articles meant to help guide the readers, do they share inspirational memes on Facebook to encourage their friends and family, do they allow themselves to be open and honest with everyone so others can learn from their lives and experiences, or study to be teachers or counselors? Certainly! These are all effective and wonderful ways to fulfill the desire to guide others but for those men who desire to guide others to a life of purpose beyond any other, God established the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Bishops, priests, and deacons of the Catholic Church receive this sacrament and by doing so, allow themselves to be used by God to guide and shepherd His people to Him and to heaven.
Another desire that is not difficult to ascertain its prevalence is the desire for strength. Flipping through magazines, scrolling through Facebook, watching TV, and even just driving passed your local gym packed with people make it clear that many people desire strength. It is not only physical strength that we desire however. We also desire a strength of the spirit. Stories of people bravely fighting diseases, soldiers coming home from war battered but not broken, women rising to become CEO’s and leaders of our nation against all odds, and other similar stories spread throughout social networks like wildfire and are held up as a symbol of inspiration for others. These stories truly are inspirational and certainly do depict strength at its finest, but it does not answer the question as to how people are able to find such strength. We all know, even if we haven’t experienced it ourselves, that there could be a time in the future when we are faced with one of those unexpected challenges in which we hope we could exhibit strength as beautifully as so many others do. So where does this desire for strength lead us, especially during difficult periods of time in our lives? The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. This sacrament gives us special graces that strengthen us and help us to more fully embrace God’s will for our lives and allow us to live through our trials and suffering with hope and with grace.
The desire that seems to reign supreme above all other desires in our world today is simple and complex at the same time. Love. The desire to love and be loved is one of the major factors behind each decision we make in our lives. People search far and wide for a lasting, sustainable love but it seems that is far more difficult to find than it should be. The desire for love can and often does lead people down a rabbit hole of unhealthy behavior in the search to fulfill it. While there are many different ways to love and be loved, one particular path that many people find themselves on is sex. Their desire to love is so great that they are willing to give of themselves in the most intimate way imaginable simply to feel the connection they are longing to feel. Their desire to be loved is so great, they allow themselves to be used in the most intimate way in order to fill that desire. Where does love and sex fit in to our lives in a way that leads to true fulfillment of those desires? The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. God’s design for marriage is such that, when followed correctly, has the potential to fulfill our unending desire for love in a way that only one other thing can.
Many people think of the desire for love to be mostly a romantic kind of desire but while a romantic desire for love is important, the kind of love that is so deeply rooted at the center of our very beings is fulfilled not even in marriage. The only thing that can fulfill this deep-seated desire is Jesus. His sacrifice for us on the cross is the only proof we ever need that we are loved and when we embrace Him and allow His love to reign in us, it makes us capable of truly loving others in a selfless and sacrificial way. By knowing Him and loving Him we find ourselves capable of fulfilling that innate need to love and be loved. Since love is at the very core of who we are as people and who God is as our creator, it only makes sense that God would give us the means by which to fulfill the desire for it.
Love is so important actually that it could be argued that all the desires we feel lead us back to our desire for love and since each sacrament fulfills our desires, each sacrament is simply a component of the way God intended us to find the love we so desire. God gave us the gift of His only Son in what is the greatest ever act of love. He also established His Church to provide us with the sacraments as a way to fulfill our desires while also allowing us to grow closer to Him. He is God and He is love and so of course He has provided us the way – through His one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church – to fulfill our desires, grow closer to Him, and make our way through this world in a way that pleases Him and that will draw us ever nearer to eternity in Heaven with Him.
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