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What are Sacraments, and Why are They Important?
A sacrament is an outward sign, established by Jesus, to confer inward grace. In more basic terms, it is a primary way that we encounter Jesus.
"The Seven Sacraments continue the saving work of Jesus until he comes again and form the center of the celebration of the Christian mystery. Through the ministry of the Church, all are invited to hear the Good News, follow Christ and share in these saving mysteries: mysteries that symbolize, make possible, realize and nurture the grace of the sacraments in the baptized."
"Participation in the sacraments is foundational to sustain the faithful in union with the very life of the Trinity. Participation in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, is not simply an option; rather, it is foundational to sustain the faithful in union with the very life of the Trinity and to strengthen them for the rigors of living their faith as committed disciples." - An excerpt from USCCB:
The 7 Sacraments Are:
- Holy Eucharist
- Penance (Reconciliation/Confession)
- Anointing of the Sick
- Holy Orders
The sacraments are divided into: the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist); the sacraments of healing (Penance and Anointing of the Sick), and the sacraments at the service of communion and mission (Holy Orders and Matrimony). The sacraments touch all the important moments of Christian life. All of the sacraments are ordered to the Holy Eucharist “as to their end” (Saint Thomas Aquinas).
How is Christian Initiation Brought About?
Christian initiation is accomplished by means of the sacraments which establish the foundations of Christian life. The faithful born anew by Baptism are strengthened by Confirmation and are then nourished by the Eucharist.
Why Did Christ Institute the Sacraments of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick?
Christ, the physician of our soul and body, instituted these sacraments because the new life that he gives us in the sacraments of Christian initiation can be weakened and even lost because of sin. Therefore, Christ willed that his Church should continue his work of healing and salvation by means of these two sacraments.
What Are the Sacraments at the Service of Communion and Mission?
"Two sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, confer a special grace for a particular mission in the Church to serve and build up the People of God. These sacraments contribute in a special way to ecclesial communion and to the salvation of others." (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)