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Outline • • • •

What is a Sacrament? The Three Divisions of the Sacraments Grace and the Sacraments The Nature of the Sacraments – Outward Sign – Instituted by Christ – To Give Grace

• Other Kinds of Grace • Proper Dispositions • “Marks” on the Soul

The Sacraments •

The word Sacrament comes from the Latin word “sacramentum” — originally this was the military oath taken by all Roman legionaries on entering the Roman army. What is a Sacrament? – They are the ordinary means through which the Church provides the grace of redemption – The sacraments are chosen instruments of divine power. – The sacraments are "an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.“

There are seven sacraments: – – – – – – –

Baptism Confirmation Eucharist Confession Anointing of the Sick Holy Orders Holy Matrimony

The Three Divisions of the Sacraments •

There are three principle divisions of the seven sacraments: – sacraments of initiation – sacraments of healing – sacraments of service

The sacraments of initiation include – Baptism – Confirmation – Eucharist

The sacraments of healing are – Penance – Anointing of the Sick

The sacraments of service are – Holy Orders – Marriage

Grace and the Sacraments • When Jesus died upon the Cross, he paid an infinite price for an inexhaustible flow of grace. • How would Jesus provide for this flow of grace to individual souls? – Would the whole thing be invisible? – Would God simply give to each person of good will a silent inner conviction of being saved? – Each time that we felt the need of divine help, would we simply ask for it and immediately feel welling up within us a great surge of spiritual strength?

Spiritual and Material • God chose to deal with man, in this matter of grace, in the same manner in which He had made man—through a union of the material and the spiritual, of body and of soul. – This is completely consistent with how we are made

• The grace itself would be invisible, as by its nature it must be. But the grace would come to us through the visible things that we deal with daily. • And so God took the common things from the world about us—objects which we could taste and touch and feel, words that we could hear and gestures that we could understand—and made these the carriers of His grace.

Examples of the Spiritual through the material •



Mark 5:27-29 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.28For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well."29And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Matt 14:35-36 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent round to all that region and brought to him all that were sick,36and besought him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well. James 5:14-15 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;15and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Examples of the Spiritual through the material •

Acts 5:14-15 14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women,15so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. Acts 19:11-12 11 And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,12so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Jn 9:6-7 6 As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay,7saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Silo'am" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

The Nature of the Sacraments • Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification - St. Augustine, "De Catechizandis rudibus"

• We readily can see that there are three distinct ideas contained in this short definition: – Outward sign – Instituted by Christ – To give grace

Outward Sign • The outward signs are God's way of treating us like the human beings we are. • He conveys His unseen grace into our spiritual souls through material symbols which our physical bodies can perceive. • The outward signs of the sacraments have two parts: – the words or gestures which give significance to what is being done = form – the "thing" itself which is used (water, oil, bread, wine, etc.) = matter

Instituted by Christ • Between the time He began His public life and the time He ascended into heaven, Jesus fashioned the seven sacraments. When He ascended into heaven, that put an end to the making of sacraments. • The Church cannot institute new sacraments. There never can be more or less than seven, the seven Jesus has given us.

Instituted by Christ • Jesus did completely specify the matter and form of some of the sacraments— notably Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. But this does not mean that He necessarily fixed the matter and form of all the sacraments down to the last detail. • Concerning some of the sacraments (Confirmation, for example) He left it to His Church, the keeper and the giver of His sacraments, to specify in detail the broad matter and form assigned by Him.

To give grace • The sacraments essential purpose is "to give grace." • What kind of grace do the sacraments give? – First and most important of all, they give sanctifying grace. Sanctifying grace is supernatural life, that sharing-in-God's-own-life that is the result of God's Love, the Holy Spirit, indwelling in the soul.

• To the soul cut off from God by original sin, Baptism brings sanctifying grace for the first time. Baptism opens the soul to the flow of God's love, and establishes union between the soul and God.

To give grace • To the soul cut off from God by its own personal sin, by mortal sin, the sacrament of Reconciliation restores the sanctifying grace that has been lost. • The other five sacraments—Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony—give an increase in sanctifying grace. • God's love does not increase—it is infinite to begin with. But the soul's capacity to absorb His love increases as a child's capacity for life increases with each meal that he eats.

Other kinds of grace •

God gives us the spiritual life which is sanctifying grace, and then does all that He can (short of taking away our free will)... – To make that life operative within us – To expand that life and intensify it – To preserve and protect it

… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. - Jn 10:10

“The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” - St. Irenaeus

So in addition to the sanctifying grace which is common to all the sacraments, each sacrament also gives the sacramental grace of that particular sacrament. – These are other special helps which God wills to give us, helps keyed to our particular spiritual needs and our particular state in life.

Other kinds of grace •



Baptism - we receive sanctifying grace and also a continuing chain of graces enabling us to preserve and extend that grace by the practice of the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Confirmation - increases our basic vitality (sanctifying grace) but also establishes a permanent fund of actual graces (sacramental grace) upon which we may draw in order to be strong and active and productive exemplars of Christian living. Anointing of the Sick - strengthens us in sickness or prepares us to meet death with confidence. Its sacramental grace comforts us in our sufferings and, by supporting us in any final temptations that may assail us, enables us to face eternity unafraid.

Other kinds of grace • •

Holy Eucharist - growth in supernatural charity (love for God and neighbor). Reconciliation - inoculation against sin: to cure us of the spiritual illness of sin and to help us resist temptation. There are also the two great states in life which impose upon us grave responsibility for the souls of others: priesthood and marriage. Holy Orders and Matrimony enable priests and spouses to live faithfully before God, the sometimes heavy burdens of their state in life.

Proper dispositions • • •

A sacrament gives grace of and by itself, by its own power. Jesus attached grace to the outward sign, so that the outward sign and grace always go together. But our own attitude does matter. Our interior dispositions have an effect on the amount of grace we receive. – The more perfect is our sorrow in the sacrament of Reconciliation, the more ardent our love in receiving the Holy Eucharist, the more lively our faith in receiving Confirmation—then the greater will be the grace we receive.

Our dispositions do not cause the grace; they simply remove the obstacles to the freer flow of grace and, in a sense, make more room for grace. – The more sand we empty out of the pail, the more water the pail will hold.

Proper dispositions •

We can by a positive act of the will prevent the grace of the sacrament from entering our soul. But, unless we interpose an outright barrier, when we receive a sacrament we receive grace; the sacrament itself gives grace. The dispositions of the one who administers the sacrament do not influence the effect of a sacrament – “Ex opere operato” is a Latin phrase meaning "from the work done" referring to the efficacy of the Sacraments deriving from the action of the Sacrament as opposed to the merits or holiness of the priest or minister.

Proper dispositions •

The person receiving the sacrament would receive the same amount of grace, regardless of whether the priest was a saint or a sinner. All that is required of the one who administers a sacrament is that: – He have the power to give it (this means the power of the priesthood except for Baptism and Matrimony) – He have the intention of administering the sacrament (the intention of doing what the Catholic Church intends) – He perform the essential ceremonies of the sacrament (such as the pouring of the water and the saying of the words in Baptism).

If you assume a receiver who does not put any obstacles to grace and a giver who is qualified to administer the sacrament—then always and infallibly a sacrament will confer grace.

Special "marks" on the soul •

• •

Besides the bestowal of grace (sanctifying and sacramental) there is another effect specific to three of the sacraments. This is the character imprinted on the soul by the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. This mark is a "quality" which imparts to the soul powers which it did not previously possess. It is a permanent quality of the soul, an alteration in the soul which forever will be visible to God, the angels, and the saints. It is a change in our very being.

Special "marks" on the soul • The character of Baptism is a supernatural quality which gives us the power to absorb the grace of the other six sacraments and to participate in the Mass. • The character of Confirmation gives us the power to profess the faith fearlessly and to spread the faith. • The character of Holy Orders gives the priest the power to celebrate Mass and to administer the other sacraments.

Conclusion •

The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life - Catechism, no. 1210

• •

The Catholic sacraments are quite extraordinary: they are ordinary signs that do God's own work. God in His wisdom chose to bestow His grace in a visible way to give us the quieting certainty that we had received grace when He did give it.


Misc Sacrament


Baptism CCC 1213-1284

Mt 28:19-20; Jn 3:5; 4:1-2; Acts 2:28; 22:16; Rom 6:3-4; Mk 16:16; Titus 3:5; Eph 5:26; 1 Peter 3:21

Unbaptized pagan, convert to the Christian Faith, newborn infant (CCC 1246-1255)

Acts 8:14-17; 9:17-19; 19:6; Heb 6:1-6

Baptized but unconfirmed; needed Completion of Baptismal grace (CCC 1285); Baptized Christians from other traditions incorporated into the fullness of the Catholic Church

Confirmation CCC 12851321

Eucharist CCC 13221421

Jn 6:1-71; Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:7-20; 24:1353; Acts 2:42-47; 20:7; 1 Cor 10:16-21

Required State

All Catholics are encouraged to participate (CCC 1417); Baptized believers in Communion with the Catholic Church (CCC 1396-1401) and devoid of Mortal Sin (CCC 1415)



Only applied once (Eph 4:5; CCC 1272)

Removes Original and Actual sin (CCC 1263); causes New Birth ("born again") (CCC 1265); incorporates into Christ (CCC 1267); is the doorway into the Church (CCC 846, 1213)

Only applied once (CCC 1304)

Sign of consecration (CCC 1294); spiritual seal (CCC 1293); completion of baptismal grace (CCC 1285); full outpouring of the Holy Spirit (CCC 13021303)

Minimum of once a year, as frequently as daily (CCC 1389; 1417)

Intimate union with Christ (CCC 1391); Receiving Christ; nourish spiritual life; medicine of immortality, separating us from sin, removal of venial sin, spiritual strength, unites the Body into One (CCC 13911401)

Misc Sacrament

Confession, Penance or Reconciliation CCC 1422-1498

Marriage CCC 1601-1666

Holy Orders CCC 15361600

Anointing of the Sick, Extreme Unction, and Last Rites CCC 1499-1535


Required State



Jn 20:23; Mt 16:18-19; 18:15-18; James 5:14-15

In Mortal Sin; desiring the Grace of Confession; in need of spiritual guidance (CCC 1446)

Minimum of once a year; or as frequently as necessary (CCC 1457-1458)

Forgiveness of serious sin, reunification with the Church, cleansing of conscience, restores grace (CCC 14681470)

Gen 1:27-28; 2:18-25; Mt 19:3-12; Jn 2:1-11; Eph 5:25-32;

Each spouse must be a baptized man and woman with no impediment to marriage (CCC 1625)

Once and to one spouse as long as the spouse is living; again only if the spouse dies (CCC 2382)

The two become one flesh (Eph 5:31; perpetual and exclusive covenant partners (CCC 1638-1640)

Acts 6:5-6; 13:3; 14:23; 20:28; Jn 20:21-23; 1 Tim 3:1; 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6; Titus 1:5; Phil 1:1

A Baptized man who has been called for ordination by God; in the Western rite, with the exception of permanent deacons, the ordained must be celibate (CCC 15771580)

Only once; separate ordination for Deacon, Priest, and Bishop (CCC 1582)

A special relationship to Christ to lead and serve the Church; indelible spiritual character imprinted on the soul (CCC 1581; 1594)

Mk 6:13; Jn 20:23; Mt 16:18-19; 18:15-18; James 5:14-15

Seriously ill; at the point of death or before a serious operation or for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced (CCC 1541f.)

Repeatable; at the point of grave illnesses or before a serious operation (CCC 1514f.)

Sins forgiven; grace to face trial; spiritual preparation to die; and if God's will, physical healing (CCC 1520-1523)

Form and Matter Sacrament Baptism CCC 1213-1284 Confirmation CCC 1285-1321

Eucharist CCC 1322-1421

Confession, Penance or Reconciliation CCC 1422-1498

Marriage CCC 1601-1666

Holy Orders CCC 15361600 Anointing of the Sick, Extreme Unction, and Last Rites CCC 1499-1535

Form "I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.“ (Mt 28:18-19; CCC 1240) "Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit." (CCC 1300) "Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is my Body which will be given up for you‌ Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my Blood, the Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me." (CCC 1412; 1 Cor 11:24-25)

Matter Water (Immersion, Infusion, or Sprinkling) (CCC 1278) Holy Chrism (Blessed Oil) and the Laying on of hands by the Bishop or a delegated priest (CCC 1288, 1294, 1300)

Bread and Wine (CCC 1333)

"God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (CCC 1449)

Sins; Contrition and confession; priestly words of absolution (CCC 1480)

The "I do", by which both spouses indicate their mutual consent to the marriage covenant (CCC 1626-1628)

Mutual Consent and Covenant to live together as husband and wife (CCC 1626); and the consummation of the Marriage (CCC 1640)

The Bishop's "specific consecratory prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidate is being ordained" (CCC 1573)

Laying on of the Bishop's hands with the consecratory prayer (CCC 1538)

Prayer of the Priest over the sick person for the grace of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins (CCC 1513, 1519)

Anointing with Holy Oil and Imposition of Hands (CCC 1513, 1519)

Ministers of the Sacraments SACRAMENT






























The Sacraments  

The Sacraments

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