The seven sacraments—Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick—are the life of the Catholic Church. Each sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace. Before going on, I want to say a bit about grace and what is it. The word grace conveys peace, hope, love, joy and all that is good and positive. It can be described as God's intangible gifts for us that strengthens us from within making us better people. One of my favourite saints - St Paul - started and/or ended most of his letters invoking grace among others things, on the people his letters were addressed to.
When we participate in them worthily in the sacraments, each provides us with graces—with the life of God in our soul. In worship, we give to God that which we owe Him; in the sacraments, He gives us the graces necessary to live a truly human and fulfilling life.
The Sacraments of the Catholic Church are, the Church teaches, "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions."
Though not every individual has to receive every sacrament, the Church affirms that, for believers as a whole, the Catholic sacraments are necessary for salvation, as the modes of grace divinely instituted by Christ Himself. Through each of them Christ bestows that sacrament's particular grace, such as incorporation into Christ and the Church, forgiveness of sins, or consecration for a particular service.
The Church teaches that the effect of a sacrament comes "ex opere operato", by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. However, a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block the effectiveness of the sacrament in that person. The sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, nourish, strengthen and give expression to faith
The sacraments are categorized into three areas. Sacraments of Initiation, Healing and Initiation means membership. Initiation into the Christian Church takes place in three stages. The first stage is Baptism. The second is Confirmation which completes baptism. The third is Holy Communion when the Christian receives the sacrament of Jesus’ Body and Blood for the first time. Each stage of initiation is a sacrament. A Sacrament is a ceremony given to the Church by God in which God gives spiritual gifts. As mentioned earlier, sacraments are said to be ‘outward signs of an inward grace’. The ceremony and the things used in it are the outward signs; the spiritual gift is the inward grace.
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