Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments
The most solemn, majestic, and beautiful gifts that Jesus Christ gave to the world are His sacraments. He endowed them with unprecedented and unparalleled power—power to change lives, save souls, and share God’s very life. The sacraments are the ordinary means by which God directs the course of each human life and all of world history.
The Church celebrates seven sacraments: baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, matrimony, holy orders, confession, and anointing of the sick. Each was established by Jesus for the sake of salvation. When Jesus spoke of the sacraments, He made clear that they were essential: Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (Jn 3:5) . . . unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you (Jn 6: 53).
In Swear to God, Dr. Scott Hahn explores the richness of Christ’s sacraments—their doctrine, history, symbols, and rituals. Drawing upon the Bible and the Church’s tradition, he shows how God’s covenants—with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David—became the driving forces in history. When Jesus came to fulfill all these covenants, He established a new covenant, with greater power than ever before. Christians are God’s children now. Joined to Christ by baptism, we can already share in the eternal life of the Trinity, a life we hope to know fully in heaven. But heaven is with us, even now, in the sacraments.
About the Author
Dr. Scott Hahn is the bestselling author of over forty titles, including The Lamb’s Supper and Reasons to Believe. Professor Hahn holds the Fr. Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990. As Founder and President of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, he is Editor-in-Chief of Emmaus Road Publishing. His Emmaus Road titles include Understanding “Our Father,” Spirit and Life, Scripture Matters, Answering the New Atheism (co-author), and Catholic for a Reason Vols. I–IV (co-editor). He also serves as the McEssy Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biblical Theology at Mundelein Seminary. Dr. Hahn has six children and thirteen grandchildren. He lives in Steubenville, Ohio.
“This book, easy to read but profound in its implications, draws on the Bible, on Catholic teaching, patristic wisdom, and rabbinical learning to explain the meaning and importance of sacraments. What the author tells of his own discovery and experience of sacramental life is illuminating and heartwarming. It will help Catholics grasp better the wonder and necessity of sacraments in God’s plan of salvation and allow other Christians to see their significance for the following of Christ.”—Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago
“As one who has lived with a lifelong realistic understanding of the sacraments, especially of the Holy Eucharist, I found Scott Hahn’s journey from Calvin’s devout but symbolic understanding to the traditional realism of the Church Fathers most enlightening. This book will be a big help to Catholics confronted by careless and inaccurate teaching about the sacraments. It will also aid Protestants, who have often lost even the sacramental piety of the Reformation and who are beginning to rediscover the sacraments instituted by Christ.”—Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., author of In the Presence of Our Lord
“Dr. Hahn has done it once again: he has given us a crisp, clear and compelling look at the very essence of Catholic life, the sacraments. Simply put, Scott believes the sacraments really do work. And he believes that the sacraments are God’s wok for us, not our work for God.”—Most Rev.Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee
“In Swear to God, Dr. Scott Hahn provides his readers with a fresh, enthusiastic introduction to the theology of Sacraments. His readers will be rewarded not only with clear theological information but also with authentically Catholic inspiration. His pen continues to be a blessing for all who seek a deeper understanding of what the Lord has revealed.”—Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York
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