Function of the Sacraments
From the Philosophy of Sacramental Initiation by
Holy Order of MANS
The sacraments function according to the Will of God. By the will of God we mean the spontaneous activity of the divine Spirit upon Itself according to the Law of Its own nature, creating the universe as the field of Its self expression.
It was through His Will that god collected to Himself that power form within Himself by which the creation as revealed in the creation and the word which was passed down to man through our Lord Jesus Christ is the will of God. The divine Spirit in search of experience reveals Its Will as the Law made manifest.
The sacraments are the processes by which man shall be brought in accordance with the creative law and the Will of God. Therefore, the foundation of the function of the sacraments must be the Will of God itself.
It is this utterly simple fact which gives the sacraments their infallible power to elevate and spiritualize the lives of men.
The basis of the function of every sacrament is two-fold: the Word and the Law of the Triangle.
The Word is the essence of any sacrament. Each sacrament may be seen as a form of the Word made manifest and brought to earth through the mediation of Christ Jesus, the High Priest of all the Priesthood on this orb.
The first five verses of the gospel of John give us the reason why the sacraments work. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life and the life was the Light of men. And the Light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not." In truth the sacraments themselves are the continued reverberation and working out unto salvation of the Primal Word of Deity.
The power and the authority of the priesthood by which the priest is able to perform the sacraments is also based on the Word of God. For in the preamble of the ordination ceremony we find these words, "For God so loved the world that He gave the lost Word to man, that this being man might see earth and heaven together." Thus, as a priest made in the image of God, his very speech is a living symbology because of the life force of the Word of God moving through it.
The Word of God is always being made manifest because when God speaks He speaks in Ė something not well understood yet - periodicy: timelessness, spacelessness, the Word ever becoming flesh.
If the essence of every sacrament is the Word, the basis for its function must be the great Law of the Triangle, the Holy Family, the great Trinity of being. The Law of the Triangle describes the action of liturgy and without action you have no sacrament.
By the Law, the power, force and energy of creation are motivated into activity according to the predetermined pattern of the increments of the sacramental rite.
Remember that the ritual symbolism is not only the words said and their relation to one another but also the position of the priest on the altar and his movements. These form the symbolism of the ritual.
In other words, the action of liturgy is the movement of the power and the force of creation through the channel set up by the form of the sacrament to manifest on the earth level in visible form the previously invisible patterns of the Heaven world. This is how the continued repetition of true sacraments helps to build the new earth.
The priest himself is an integral part of the reality of sacraments. No sacrament ever existed where the priest did not have to submit himself completely to the Presence of the Father, the power of the Son, and the force and activity of the Holy Spirit. The force of the Holy Spirit is the will of the Father.
The Presence of the Father is the totality of the Being of the great Creator of this universe, as it impinges upon the priest. HERE Ė NOW, as he steps forward purposefully to the alchemic table of transformation, the altar.
The power of the Sun, as far as we are concerned, is the Christ force, the Light of Christ. This is the ever-present, ever-moving, overwhelming energy of God manifesting as the life-giving power of the Christos.
The Holy Spirit is the activity of the intelligence of the Father, or as we say, the personality of God in action.
Many people in working with the sacraments confuse the Holy Spirit with the Christ Force. The two are not the same. The Christ Force is the power of the Sun/Son. The Holy Spirit is the nature of the Sunís function, that is, the personality of God through the Son.
An example often used by Father Paul is the activity of sunlight as it draws moisture up through the air. It is not the heat or power of the Sun that induces the moisture to rise through the atmosphere in a corkscrew motion. It is the character or nature of the sunlight which creates this motion as it draws moisture. In this case the character of the sunlight is the Spirit of the Sun, not the Power of the Sun.
The Holy Spirit is the Intelligence of creation the Mind but the Intelligence. When you call on it, it must obey and act upon anything that you declare. In a sacrament, when the Father has been acknowledged, and the power is moving and the pattern has been set and you declare, "Father, it is done!" then the Holy Spirit goes to work. When you have the consciousness of the Presence of the Father, then it works in accordance with that. It sets the elements of the Fire, the Air, the Earth and the Water into action, so to speak, according to the pattern set in the sacrament and in your ability to completely submit yourself to the Spirit.
Every Sacrament is one part form and one part performance. No Sacrament is complete in its for alone. It must be enacted for it to become real. To be complete the Sacrament must be performed.
The Priest, when he stands in the shadow of Jesus Christ at the altar and goes through the actions of the ritual, brings the Sacrament to life and fulfillment. You might say, the Priest acts as the soul of the Sacrament, but in so doing he must feel the reality and the existence of the part that he is assuming because nothing can be created without feeling that it can exist or live during the timeless period of the mass.
Just as the purified soul reflects a greater amount of the Christ Light than does an unregenerate soul, so a highly developed priest performs a more effective Sacrament than does a priest who doesnít understand what he is doing and odes it without feeling.
This does not take anything away from the divine perfection of the Sacraments instituted by Christ. It simply goes to show that the true Sacrament, the real Sacrament, will be in accord with the laws of creation, not dogma. The clearer the channel, the greater the flow of power.
In other words, the effectiveness of a sacrament does not just depend upon the increments of the ritual, although the number of candles or lights, the number of things as used do have a bearing and a definite influence on the harmony of the sacrament within which the sacrament functions. It also depends upon the preparedness and the state of acceptance of the consciousness of the priest. We know that in every ritual that is real there is spiritual action, the flow of power. If there is no action either something is wrong with the ritual or the priest is not functioning.
As a priest you have received the power over the Life and the death of creation at your ordination, but it is a mistake to assume that once you are ordained you will function automatically. The power of the priesthood does not surrender itself, it must be seized. You must prepare yourself daily to be a more perfect channel, to be in a state of complete acceptance of the working of the power of God and the perfection of Jesus Christ working through you.
Therefore, as a priest you are no better than your knowing. Do you know it? Do you know that youíve got the power to do it? Because if you donít you havenít got it. If you are not the manifestation of Jesus Christ on that altar you are not going to function. It is that plain and simple.
When you go to the altar you must sacrifice yourself totally. Clear your mind completely. Forget everything else that has ever happened. If you keep anything when you enter the sanctuary, that sacrament you are about to perform will not be of much use. You must clear these things in order for the power and the force to flow.
If you have just entered the priesthood and are taking it upon yourself the divine mantle of God, you have just acclaimed yourself to the eternal giving of all of your life to the mediation between God and man and you truly desire to function as a priest, you may not have fully reached that level.
You may feel that your knowing isnít yet really conceived as it should be. But if you are sincere and if you are dedicated truly to the purpose of serving God through the priesthood, you reach up in your own mind and feelings toward Jesus Christ and truly take on or attempt to take on (perhaps I should say in words) the true image as far as you know it of our Lord Jesus. It has been my experience that you will find help and assistance from the Hosts above and be able to carry out and attain the perfection of the sacrament that you are participating in.
It is important that all priests learn to understand and acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ as the High Priest of our profession. For as Lord of Earth, it is always through His mantle and atmosphere that we operate. And it is the loving responsibility of our High Priest to care for His Holy Priesthood, to sustain them in their efforts, to pour His love and grace upon them that they might be strengthened and comforted as they travel the eternal path of service.
Strive to become feelingly conscious of
our Great Master each time you approach the altar to perform
a sacrament. Know that you are standing in His shadow, in
If you do not develop this devotion to the Master and sacraments and the craft of the Priesthood as well as a heartfelt compassion for the people you are trying to serve, you will find that you are falling far short of the mark. For without this consciousness, the daily or frequent repetition of the sacraments will soon become a dull habit or a painful chore. And, of course, with an attitude like that there will be no movement of the Spirit and the ritual will be useless to the receiver, unless his faith is far greater than yours.
But, if you approach the Altar of God with devotion and expectancy and a sense of awe and humility at the great privilege bestowed on you as a priest to cooperate with Christ Jesus in His saving work, you will really be able to serve the people, and they will not fail to receive the imprint and the blessing of the Spirit.
1.First and most important, as we have said, is to clear the mind completely as you enter the sanctuary. Leave all worldly matters behind. Your only tools are your faith and your knowing. With a clear mind and a concentrated devotion and an unwavering knowing you will function as a perfect channel for the grace and power of Christ to flow through you.
2.Develop a love for the sacraments. Study the function of ritual. Learn the art of working at the altar, so that you get a feeling for the fine points of the priestly craft. You are the modern alchemist. The altar is your workbench. The rituals are your tools.
3.Enjoy your work. Donít be afraid to express the joy of working with the Spirit. A pontifical or stiff pious demeanor has no purpose on the altar. Remember the sacraments are real. The Spirit is real. There is no need for any kind of false front to put them across. Sometimes you may be full of tears. Let them flow freely. The joy you feel will be felt by the receiver and will help him to achieve a state of acceptance. A joyless priest is a spiritual contradiction.
4.Perform the actions and pronounce the words of the ritual with clarity and feeling. This is not just form. Every action of the ritual has a higher spiritual counterpart Ė the invisible reality of the Heaven world. It is the responsibility of every priest to learn how to live and function in this Heaven world. Remember you have left the earth. You are no longer tied to its limitations.
5.Donít forget that you are not alone when you are in the sanctuary. There are always others there that you may not see Ė the Host above. The sacraments are not just for you but are an important part of the cosmic plan for this orb; and the work of the priesthood is linked to the work of the Hierarchy of Heaven. As far as we are concerned this isthe White Brotherhood.
When working in the sanctuary it is a good practice to ask for their help because we may not know all there is to know about the person or situation weíre helping. They see from a fuller perspective and will fill in when needed.
6.Always leave room in any ritual for the manifestation of the Spirit. If something comes to you strong and true from the Spirit, give it forth. These things are not necessarily for your benefit but for the receiver, and it is your responsibility to see that he gets it. This does not mean that you can put on a personal performance nor does it give you license to tamper with the ritual. The wise priest respects the ritual but is always open to the gifts of the Spirit as they are given.
7.Above all be conscious of one thing, you are the key to all the sacraments. You are the mediator. You in your own being provide the link that unites earth and heaven in the Holy rituals. Cultivate a sense of responsibility to the priesthood. There is no greater honor than to be consecrated in service to the Great Creator. We are the handmaidens of God. Remember, once ordained you no longer have a right to a life of your own. Be ever vigilant to maintain a standard of conduct that will always reflect the dignity of our profession, but withal be yourself.
Let the words of the preamble of the ordination be your guide as you travel the eternal way. "Traveling from infinity to infinity surrounded in royal purples to take His place above the angels, requiring but one act, that he love his Creator first, then would all other things be added unto him. With pride in the words and the works of the Father which bringeth peace and harmony, love that is conceived and born through self-forgetting service to God, Man and Spirit."
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