In mass today, the priest talked a lot about baptism.
There are three readings in a Catholic mass. The First Reading is from the Old Testament and the Second Reading is from the New Testament, and the Gospel is from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Today's Gospel was about when Jesus was baptized.
So, in the homily, the priest talked about the "sacrament of baptism."
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary app defines sacrament as "a Christian rite (as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality"
I'm not sure if that's the Catholic definition, but it's close. There are 7 Catholic sacraments: baptism, confession, communion, confirmation, marriage, holy orders (when a guy becomes a priest), and anointing of the sick. One cannot receive all 7, because a priest can't be married. Some just happen once (baptism, confirmation, holy orders), some technically just happen once but special circumstances could lead to multiple times (marriage, anointing of the sick), and some you're supposed to do on a regular basis (confession, communion).
Anywho, so now that you know what I mean when I say "sacrament," let's get to the main point of the post.
In his homily, the priest said "we are a sacramental people." He said other Christian faiths consider baptism, etc, to be blessings, not sacraments. There's a difference, but I'm not sure I can explain it. To use an example, the Catholic church believes the bread and wine literally change into the Body and Blood of Christ when the priest blesses them for communion. That's a sacrament. Most churches believe the bread and wine/juice/water are just a symbol. That's a blessing of sorts.
As soon as he said "sacramental people," I thought of covenants. I'm not entirely clear on what kinds of covenants one makes as a Mormon, but I think baptism is one of them.
Remember how I said a Catholic is only baptized once? And a Mormon is only baptized once. But the difference between my Catholic baptism as an infant and my upcoming baptism as a young woman is the authority by which it is performed. A Catholic baptism requires two things. One, the water. One must either be immersed or have water poured over them (usually just over their head, like for an infant). Two, the words "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," invoking the idea of the Trinity. I'm 99% sure the baptism has to be performed by a priest or pastor, too. But it doesn't have to be a Catholic priest. I know the Catholic church accepts Lutheran baptisms, and probably a few others too.
But being baptized by a priesthood holder into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints... There's the priesthood. Which I don't completely understand, and I'm not clear on what all happens at a Mormon baptism, but I know the Spirit is present. And that's enough for me. A Mormon baptism is not just a simple blessing. It has great meaning.
I wish I knew more about Mormon baptisms and covenants so I felt qualified to talk about this topic.
I'm not sure where I thought I was going with this post. Oh yeah, I was gonna contrast sacraments and covenants. It would help if I knew more about covenants. Mostly, I think they're just different ways of saying very similar things.
Ps I got to go to Mormon church today and it made me super happy :D