What is a sacramental seal and where did it come from?

Steven PutmanQandALeave a Comment

Question: What is a sacramental seal and where did it come from?

Answer: Leaving more than just a memory, there are some events in our life that are truly transforming, making us different people. The same thing can be said of spiritual things, especially sacraments. A sacramental seal or character is a theological concept to describe the life-changing and permanent effect of three sacraments on the person: baptism, confirmation, and holy orders. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that these sacraments confer a seal “by which the Christian shares in Christ’s priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible” (#1121).

Once we receive these sacraments, we are forever changed. It’s a spiritual “point of no return” whereby we take a step forward in our faith journey. We are marked as people of faith, as those who have received the Spirit and as those called to serve in ordained ministry. That is why these sacraments are received only once. The direction is set, the choice is made, and we are called by God to be his people. Nothing can change that, not even our own sinfulness.

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