What are the seven sacraments?
The seven sacraments are baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, marriage and holy orders. They are divided into three categories: sacraments of initiation, sacraments of healing and sacraments of service.
What is a sacrament?
Before we get into the details of each sacrament, we want to reiterate one of the most important things about the sacraments — that they’re means which God uses to show His grace and help us achieve salvation. The word sacrament means “a sign of the sacred,” which is fitting as they are all outwards signs from God to us.
Not only are they signs, they’re also celebrations of a continued journey and relationship with God, teachings to help live out His word and ceremonies to show devotion to Him.
Where did the sacraments originate?
In the Bible, Christ gives his followers clear instructions on how to administer and receive each of the sacraments. This is seen through his work with the Apostles, healing the sick, parables, giving his body and blood to nourish our souls and forgiving sinners. The Church administers these holy sacraments as instructed, in order for all to worship God and receive His salvation.
The Sacraments of Initiation
The three sacraments of initiation are baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. Each is meant to strengthen your faith and forge a deeper relationship with God. Baptism frees you from original sin, confirmation strengthens your faith and Eucharist allows you to taste the body and blood of eternal life and be reminded of Christ’s love and sacrifice.
The Sacraments of Healing
The two sacraments of healing are penance and anointing the sick. Penance allows for spiritual healing and absolution for people who have distanced themselves from God through sin. Anointing the sick allows for both physical and spiritual healing. When one falls seriously ill, a minister anoints them and prays over them, calling on Christ to strengthen and heal.
The Sacraments of Service
Through marriage and the holy orders, couples and the clergy promise to serve and build up the church community.
Living Out the Sacraments
Receiving one of the seven sacraments is a life-changing moment where one truly experiences God’s salvation and Christ’s sacrifice. Events like first communion are exciting and deserve special gifts. Growing in faith doesn’t only happen through the sacraments, it happens through daily prayer and devotion. Tools like a rosary, Bible, prayer journal and cross can assist you in practicing your faith.
If you know anyone about to partake in a sacrament or looking for tools to nourish their faith, consider blessing them in their journey with special religious gifts. It will be a keepsake that will stay with them as their faith continues to deepen.