Seven from Heaven: How the Sacraments Can Heal, Nurture, and Protect Your Family Today
by Elizabeth Ficocelli
Crossroad Publishing Company, 2012
Elizabeth Ficocelli, an adult convert to the Catholic faith, is a woman in love with the sacraments. That love shines forth in her latest book, Seven from Heaven: How the Sacraments Can Heal, Nurture, and Protect Your Family Today. She believes that teaching about the sacraments is “the perfect catechetical tool . . . to excite young people about their faith.”
While Seven from Heaven will help adults understand the sacraments more fully, Ficocelli’s intention is truly to help parents then educate their children about this aspect of our faith. By making the sacraments integral to one’s family life, the family will then be transformed.
As one might expect, Ficocelli focuses on each of the seven sacraments: Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and The Anointing of the Sick. She discusses the blessing of each sacrament and its important role in our lives. What makes Seven from Heaven truly valuable and unique are the ways Ficocelli suggests to make these sacraments come alive for children. Children, as much as adults, are prone to asking “What is in it for me?” When it comes to the sacraments, the answer is “everything!” It is a Catholic parent’s job to help their children understand the beauty and blessings of these gifts from God. With her practical suggestions, Ficocelli helps make that job much easier.
For example, when preparing a child for going to confession, she suggests having that child write a letter to Jesus about what he or she would like to talk to the priest about. The year a child will make First Communion is a wonderful time to have the whole family pray in a special way for that child. Praying to the Holy Spirit for the grace of His gifts is a means of making confirmation more tangible. A child can pray for his or her future spouse from a young age. A family can spiritually “adopt” a seminarian to pray for and write letters to in order to connect the family with the sacrament of Holy Orders. Helping to care for the sick and dying can underscore the importance of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
The sacraments are such wonderful gifts! Seven from Heaven will help foster or renew your enthusiasm for them. As Ficocelli states in the last chapter, “When we revitalize the family through God’s graces, we revitalize the Church and, in turn, the world!” Why would we ever want to miss that opportunity?
Copyright 2012 Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur