Catholic Sacraments

Essay by helenc40University, Bachelor's April 2004

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"Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Annointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. 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 he stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life." (CCC 1210)

(A) In relation to the above quotation, explain why the Sacraments of Marriage, Annointing of the Sick and Holy orders are important to Catholics.

Part A: Vatican 11 has defined the term "sacrament" as an effective or efficacious symbol which has it's origins in Christ's intention. This means that each of the symbols actually brings about what it represents. Jesus Christ is an example: He is a symbol of God's love for Christians. However, he is more than just a symbol of God's love, He is actually God's love itself- God-made-man.

And thus it is with the seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Annointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony- God's love is made visible to Catholics.

"The Sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify." CCC 1089

The sacraments are divided into three categories: sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist), sacraments of vocation (Marriage and Holy Orders) and sacraments of healing (Penance and Annointing of the Sick). These categories allow for the gifts of the sacraments to touch Catholics during the key moments of their lives which occur from birth, through childhood, adolesence, adulthood and death.

The common vocation or...