THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS
Sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, through which Divine life is given. There are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion (Eucharist), Penance (Confession, Reconciliation), Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction, Last Rites), Matrimony (Marriage), and Holy Orders. They are classified as the Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist), the Sacraments of Reconciliation/Healing (Penance and Anointing of the Sick), and the Sacraments of Commitment (Matrimony and Holy Orders). The Eucharist occupies a unique place as the Sacrament of Sacraments and all the other Sacraments are ordered to it as to their end.
“The seven sacraments touch all the stages of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.
According to the Second Vatican Council, “The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the body of Christ, and finally, to give worship to God. Because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called ‘sacraments of faith.’ They do indeed impart grace, but, in addition, the very act of celebrating them disposes the faithful most effectively to receive this grace in a fruitful manner, to worship God duly, and to practice charity” (Sacred Constitution on the Liturgy, 59).
The seven sacraments are God’s gift to each us. They allow us to grow closer to him and to deepen our faith and commitment to the Church.
Click the images below for more about each of these Sacraments!