WHAT IS A SACRAMENT?
The Latin word Sacramentum means “a sacred sign.” Sacraments are signs of sacred things. According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the Sacraments, understood as coming from Jesus the Saviour, are not just signs or signify Divine grace, they also engender that grace in our souls. The widely held definition of a sacrament was the one given by Peter Lombard in the Twelfth century: A sacrament is in such a manner an outward sign of inward grace. When one receives any sacrament, it is a special occasion for experiencing divine presence because that sacrament causes grace in one’s soul.
There are seven Sacraments in the Catholic Church, namely:
Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Marriage.
The first three – Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, are known as the Sacraments of Christian Initiation. They are the foundation of the Christian life.
Two sacraments are sacraments of healing: the Sacrament of Penance and the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Two other sacraments - Holy Orders and Marriage, are directed towards the salvation of others. They can lead, at the same time, to personal salvation.
The Sacraments of Holy Orders and Marriage are referred to as Sacraments of Vocation. They are special calls to a particular mission in the Church, which aims to build up the people of God. Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders cannot be repeated. These sacraments imprint an indelible mark on the soul of the Christian.
Ray of Light