The Blessed Sacraments each of them very vital to Catholics and Christians, either as an element of personal spiritual growth or in terms of their significance to the church as a whole, and a lane on the road to God. These sacraments are ceremonial and point to what is sacred, significant and vital for Christians. There are seven Sacraments according to the Roman Catholic Church – Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance or Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony (Marriage) and Holy Orders; these were designed to reinforce an individual’s connection with God. The word sacrament comes from the Latin word “Sacramentum”, which means a sign of the sacred, and can be translated as “mystery”.
o Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist
o Sacraments of Healing: Reconciliation or Penance, and Anointing of the sick
o Sacraments of Service of Communion: Matrimony and Holy Orders
Baptism is the first sacrament a Catholic/Christian receives. It begins a lifelong voyage of commitment and discipleship. Under the three sacraments of initiation, Baptism is the first. Before one can receive other sacraments, one must be baptized. The sacrament can only be received once in terms of its power to convey forgiveness of all sins, and can be received at any age.
The Eucharist is the main building block in the faith. This sacrament occurs when Catholics in good standing accept the body and blood of Jesus Christ, considered both a sacrifice and a meal, to bring them closer to God. This sacrament was initiated by Jesus, during the Last Supper that he shared with his disciples. Catholics believe that the sacrament, which must be celebrated by an ordained priest, starts by turning the bread and wine, to the body and blood of Christ during the blessing and in the true presence of Jesus, who died for our sins.
Confirmation is the third sacrament under the initiation sacraments. Although one may already have the Holy Spirit inside them, this sacrament helps one to use the Spirit within them and recognize its presence. After one is confirmed they are considered a mature individual to the faith to the people of their faith and church. One has the responsibility to the faith and to their church.
The sacrament of confirmation is normally administered by the Bishop; on the other hand due to certain conditions the Bishop could assign a priest to administer the confirmation services in his absents. Those being confirmed, t sacrament shows sharing of the Holy Spirit with the laying on of hands.
This sacrament is called by three names, confession, reconciliation, and penance. Each of these reflect one element of the sacrament. This is called confession; since one must identify and confess ones sins. One must admit they have done something immoral and are willing to take penance for. This is also is called penance because one must do something to make up for their sins. It shows that they have owned up to ones sin and are ready to strive to do better. This is called reconciliation; since one must be willing to reconcile with God and those they have wronged. The third and last is the sacrament of Penance, which restores the gift of God’s grace to one.
The sacrament of matrimony (marriage), is when a man and woman take the vows of faithfulness for one another through marriage in the eyes of all Christians. The married couple shows their marriage as a way they can live out their Christian baptismal faith. Catholics and most Christian marriages comprise of three key characteristics: their everlasting obligation to one another, their unconditional love and care for one another, and intention to have and care for children.
Holy Orders –
The sacrament of Holy Orders (Ordination) is when a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon is the ordained, and who vows to lead other Catholics or Christians by bringing them the sacraments, by proclaiming the Gospel, and by providing other means to holiness (especially the Eucharist). The Holy Orders provides these individuals who are called upon to assist others the opportunity to do that with serving others onto their sacred journey. This provides them the power to execute certain sacraments and rituals in the Catholic faith.
Anointing of the Sick –
Anointing of the Sick (formally known as the Last Rites) is the sacrament that gives individuals who are suffering help. This may heal them or provide them the grace and power they need to tolerate their illness and make penance with God. Under this sacrament, the priest uses his hands on the forehead, nostrils, cheeks, lips, breast, palms of both hands, and the back of the hands (known to some as motion of lying of the hands). Then the priest speaks the words from the prayer of the gospel for behalf of the sick along with the blessing of anointing with oil; to bring the sick closer to understanding their belief and journey at that present moment in time with God. Also, this sacrament celebrates the resurrection in several ways. This helps the person to be less scared on what’s to happen or what’s to come if they were to pass on.
A sacrament gives grace of and by itself, by the power it possesses.
Jesus attached grace to the outward sign, so that that outward sign and grace go together. The blessed sacraments are quite amazing: these are everyday signs of God’s personal work. God’s wisdom showed his grace in a noticeable way to provide all of us the quieting belief when one receives grace, when he provided it. And Christ gave us several wonderful gifts. And in his sacraments, he continues to supply those gifts to us, away from all measures, at any time we require them.
The Orthodox and Anglican traditions also practice all seven sacraments. Other Christian denominations only celebrate baptism and communion.