Many natural religions, skewed as they may be, may still have elements of the Gospel hidden within them. Some rituals of man are, however, so rife with evil intent or the elevation of man above God that such rituals are incompatible with common sense and healthy spirituality.
- To name something or someone is to assume authority over it/him and responsibility for something or someone.
- A name can be a story of one's heritage or ancestral origin.
- A name becomes one's identity, something into which one grows.
The English word "ritual" derives from the Latin ritualis, "that which pertains to rite (ritus)". In Roman juridical and religious usage, ritus was the proven way (mos) of doing something, or "correct performance, custom". The original concept of ritus may be related to the Sanskrit ṛtá ("visible order)" in Vedic religion, "the lawful and regular order of the normal, and therefore proper, natural and true structure of cosmic, worldly, human and ritual events". The word "ritual" is first recorded in English in 1570, and came into use in the 1600s to mean "the prescribed order of performing religious services" or more particularly a book of these prescriptions.—WP
Catholic ritual, for example the Holy Eucharist, has God as its author. Catholic ritual is revealed by Jesus Christ and has developed in response to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The seven sacraments were revealed by Jesus during the course of His earthly ministry. Some are plain to see in Holy Scripture. Others are present therein, but require reference to the Sacred (oral) Tradition of the Apostles to confirm what was understood by Christians before the advent of New Testament Scripture. Remember, the Church and her Tradition preceded the Canon of Holy Scripture. The two taken together—Holy Scripture and the oral Tradition handed down from Apostle to disciple—constitute the one Tradition of the Church (CCC 83).
Lest we be accused of works righteousness, i.e., earning our way into heaven, Catholics understand that faith and works go together, that we are saved by grace to serve. It is by works graced by God that God invites people into relationship with Him in the Holy Spirit. The Seven Sacraments are visible rituals that are signs of God's presence and channels of His grace (ex opere operato).
Ritual is frequently dismissed as fluff or mere ornament because those without a sense of poetry are blind to the efficacy of beautiful, true and good art that points beyond itself to the Creator who is the source of all true art.
- Ritual is a compass pointing to God.
- Ritual is a communication device through which God communicates Himself to the souls disposed by ritual.
- Ritual is a pattern of behaviour that configures us to the Word of God.
- Ritual is the artwork of the spirit.