Tag Archives: seven sacraments

Sacramentality: You can’t “get” the Middle Ages if you don’t get this

Rogier van der Weyden. Seven Sacraments Altarpiece. Baptism, Confirmation, and Penance. Detail of the left wing. c.1445-1450. Oil on panel. Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium

In a lecture I’m giving today in the humanities program of Bethel University, I’ll be talking about the ideas of “sacramentality” and “sacraments” in the medieval period. Here’s what I’ll be saying:

Some definitions and facets of “sacrament”

Now we turn the page to a key preoccupation of “those who prayed”—one of the most central theological ideas of the medieval period—the idea of sacramentality.

Sacramentality is the concept that the outward and visible can convey the inward and spiritual. Physical matters and actions can become transparent vehicles of divine activity and presence. In short, sacraments can be God’s love made visible. Continue reading