The Sacraments

A sacrament is an outwrd sign instituted by Christ that gives grace, sanctifying and sacramental. The seven sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation, The Holy Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy orders & Matrimony.

Baptism and Penance are called sacraments of the dead since their cheif purpose is to give the life of grace to souls dead through sin. The other sacraments besides penance are called the sacraments of the living since they give more grace to souls already alive through grace. A person who receives the living sacraments in a state of mortal sin commits a mortal sin of sacrilege.

Baptism, Confirmation and Holy orders can only be received once because they imprint on the soul a spiritual mark which lasts forever.

Baptism gives our souls the new life of grace in which we become children of God. It takes away original sin and any actual sins. Usually only a preist may Baptise, but in extreme situations anyone else may baptise. It is given by pouring ordinary water on teh forehead of the person and saying "I baptize thee in teh name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Confirmation is the sacrament in which the Holy Spirit comes onto us in a special way and enables us to profess our fath as strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Christ. The Bishop is the usual minister, but can be given by a preist in cases of necessity, when the power is given by the Pope. All Catholics should be confirmed in order to be strengthened against the dangers to salvation and to be better prepared to defent the Ctholic faith.

The Holy Eucharist is a sacrafice as well as a sarcrament. Under the appearances of bread and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered and received. The Eucharist was instituted at the Last supper by Christ. The bread and wine changed into Christ's body and blood at the words "This is my body" and "This is my blood". Only the appearance of the bread and wine remained, the colour, taste, weight and shape. When Christ said to the apostles at the last supper: "Do this in memory of me" he gave the power to change bread and wine into his body and blood to his preists.

The Mass is the sacrifice of the New Law in which Christ, through the preist, offers himself to God in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine. The sacrifice is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross; one the cross Christ physically shed his blood and was physically slain, while at Mass their is no physical shedding of blood nor physical death.

Holy communion is the receiving of Jesus in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. You must be free from mortal sin, have the right intention and observe the churches laws on fasting before Holy Communion, no fast is required if death is near or the Eucharist is being consumed to protect it from insult. Those who receive the Eucharist in mortal sin receive the body of Christ but not His graces, it is a sin of sacrilege. Fasting before Holy Communion lasts one hour when nothing may be eaten or drunk except water. We should pray and prepare spiritually for Holy Communion and thank God afterwards. Holy Communion is the greatest aid to a Holy Life.

Penance is the Sacrament by which sins committed after baptism are forgiven. We must examine our conscience, be sorry for our sins, intend not to sin again, confess our sins to the preist and be willing to do the penance the preist gives us. An examination of conscience is a sincere effort to call to mind all the sins we have committed since our last confession. You should ask God for help and try to think about the commandments of God and the Church. Contrition is a sincere sorrow for having offended God and hatred of teh sins we have committed with a firm purpose to not sin again. There are two types of contrition; perfect and imperfect. Perfect contrition is when we are sorry because our sins offend God, imperfect is when we are sorry because the sins themselves are hateful or we fear God's punishment, both kinds are sufficient for Penance.

Confession is the act of telling our sins to a priest to obtain forgivness, it is necessary to confess all mortal sins. A person who knowingly kept back a mortal sin must confess that he has made a bad confession, tell the sin again and any sacraments received whilst in a state af mortal sin. It is traditional when in confession to start by kneeling, crossing onself and saying "Bless me Father for I have sinned." We then say how long it has been since our last confession. We then confess our sins, telling the number of times for mortal sins. We then say an act of contrition and receive absolution. After leaving the confessional we should thank God and do our penance.

An indulgence is the taking away of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgive, there are two kinds, plenary and partial. A plenary indulgence is the remission of part of the temporal punishment due to our sins. To gain an indulgence for ourselves we must be in a state of grace, desire the indulgence and perform the works required. Indulgences can be gained for souls in purgatory but not others on Earth.

Holy Orders is the sacrament through which men become bishops, priests and other ministers of the Church. Anointing of the sick is the sacrament which gives health and strength to the soul and sometimes to the body when we are in at least probable danger of death.

Matrimony is the sacrament where a baptized man and baptized woman bind themselves for life in a lawful marriage and receive the grace to discharge their duties.

The sacramentals are holy things or actions of which the church makes use to obtain for us from God spiritual and temporal favors, these include holy water, blessed candles, ashes, palms, crucifixes, medals, rosaries, scapulars and images of the Lord, Blessed Virgin and the sints.

Prayer is the lifting of the mind and heart to God. We pray to adore God, to thank Him, to obtain from Him the pardon of our sins and the remission of their punishment, to ask for graces and blessings for ourselves and others. We chould especially pray for ourselves, parents, relatives, friends, enemies, sinners, the souls in purgatory, the Pope, Bishops and Priests of the Church and the officials of our contry. We can use our own words in praying. We usually start and finish with the sign of the cross to express two important mysteries of our faith; the Blessed Trinity and the Redemption. The our Father is the best of all prayers because it was tought by Christ himself.

Back to Imitatorm