Sacraments — Overview
Sacraments are actions of Christ and of the Church. They are signs and means by which faith is expressed and strengthened. By offering worship to God, our sanctification is brought about. (Code of Canon Law, 840)
Jesus instituted the sacraments and he entrusted them to the Church.
Every sacrament has its own matter and form which make up the ceremony. Matter refers to what is used as the sign, e.g., bread and wine in The Eucharist. Form refers to the words used, e.g., "I absolve you from your sins" in Reconciliation.
Each sacrament gives us Sanctifying Grace, which is an increase of Faith, Hope and Charity - these are traditionally known as the Theological Virtues. Sanctifying Grace is first received at Baptism where Original Sin is washed away and we are made adopted sons and daughters of God, like Jesus, and we become members of the Catholic Church. Only serious sin can remove Sanctifying Grace from our souls and this can be restored again to us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Catholics try to receive the sacraments as often as possible because they have the ability to sanctify and strengthen us. When we receive the sacraments and live in the state of grace, we become more like Christ on earth.
The names of the seven sacraments, which Jesus left us, are as follows:
- Anointing of the Sick
- Holy Matrimony
- Holy Orders
MATTER - Water (Immersion, Infusion, or Sprinkling) FORM - "I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."Read More
MATTER - Unleavened Bread and Grape Wine. FORM - "This My Body which will be given up for you. Do this in memory of Me … Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my Blood, the Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me."Read More
MATTER - Holy Chrism (Blessed Oil) and the Laying on of Hands by the Bishop or delegated priest. FORM - Bishop or designated priest: "Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit."Read More
MATTER - Sins; Contrition and confession; priestly words of absolution. FORM - Priest says: "God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."Read More
MATTER - Anointing with Holy Oil and Imposition of Hands. FORM - Prayer of the Priest over the sick person for the grace of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins.Read More
MATTER - Mutual Consent and Covenant to live together as husband and wife; and the consummation of the Marriage. FORM - The "I do", by which both spouses indicate their mutual consent to the marriage covenant.Read More
MATTER- Laying on of the Bishop's hands with the consecratory prayer. FORM - The Bishop's "specific consecratory prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidate is being ordained."Read More