Do you remember a time when you were invited to your priest’s home during the holiday season, and everyone was enjoying the meal at the dining table when suddenly one of the priest’s children asked you a question that you had no idea what it was, “What are the seven rites of the Catholic church?” The next thing you know is that you are smiling as sweat is dripping from your head as you read this. You know how it feels when you get that feeling, right? I can’t tell you how embarrassing it can be.
What are the Sacraments of The Catholic Church?
The 7 Sacraments of The Catholic Church are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders.
As for this post, we shall be taking a closer look at each of these rites to understand better what they entail.
What is a Rite or Sacrament?
A sacrament is a significant Christian rite recognized as significant to Christians. Such traditions are subject to a variety of views when it comes to their existence and their meaning. A large number of Christians consider the sacraments as a visible symbol of the reality of God, but they also serve as a channel for God’s grace to flow through.
In the Christian faith, baptism is the first sacrament through which a person becomes united to both Christ and the Church – it is required before receiving any other sacrament. In this rite, a priest performs the immersion of the baptismal candidate into water, which serves to cleanse their original sin through the power of water and the word of God. Anointing with sacred chrism is performed when the candidate wears white garments, a candle is lit, and a candle is lit for the candidate. You are taking the first step in your relationship with God and with Christ by taking this step. It is usually when the candidate is a baby that this occurs. However, it is never too late to begin your journey with God, and you are never too old to begin your journey with God. There is a common tradition of having a baptism celebration with friends and family after the baptism and giving the child baptism keepsakes that will help them grow in their faith over time.
- You are therefore called to go, make disciples of all nations, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19
- During those days, it happened that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in Jordan on the day that he came from Nazareth of Galilee. As soon as he came up from the water, the heavens were opened and the Spirit descended upon him, like a dove. In that moment, a voice from heaven arose in response to his call, saying, “Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. Mark 1:9-11
- And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. Acts 16:31, 33
As part of the initiation process with God and the Church, this is the sacrament that follows Baptism, where the candidate receives the gift of the Holy Spirit and continues their journey with Christ through the gift of the Holy Spirit. A bishop anoints the forehead of the candidate with chrism during Confirmation, when the candidate is anointed with the oil of chrism. Confirmation is an excellent way for older children to acknowledge that even though they are not yet babies, they still desire to continue their journey with God and grow their relationship with him, and to acknowledge that they still want to continue their journey with him. As a way to celebrate your child’s confirmation, buy them an inspirational Bible, highlight meaningful verses, or place a cross on the cover so that they can see God’s love every day as a way to remind them of God’s love.
- Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
- When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Eucharist is a word that means thanksgiving in the Catholic faith. As you probably already know, this is when Christ’s body and blood are offered to the parishioner in the form of bread and wine, and then received by him. When Christ broke bread during the Last Supper, he ate it, he gave it to his disciples for them to eat, and he told them to eat it as well. Every time the Holy Communion is administered at a mass, the priest blesses and consecrates the bread and wine as a reminder that as Christians we are one with Christ through the words of consecration. Our bodies are nourished with food and drink, but we are nourished spiritually with Christ’s blood and body.
- Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
- While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:26-28
- They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:42-46
This sacrament is for those who wish to become priests, bishops, or deacons as they choose to do so. By being ordained, they are able to fulfill sacred duties and serve the church community in a sacred way. In this sacrament, not everyone will participate, but rather those who feel a calling from God will do so in response to the sacrament.
- But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
- Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. Acts 20:28
- I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19
The sacrament of penance is a rite in which the faithful confess sins to God, which is done through a priest who, by God’s mercy, absolves their sins, and then instructs them on how to live a more faithful life after they have been absolved of their sins. In order to cultivate a fruitful relationship with God and live out his word in a fruitful manner, confession is essential. Despite all our efforts, there is no such thing as a perfect person, even if we try to be one. If you confess some of those things that you have made a mistake and receive forgiveness for them, it feels so much better. Our relationship with God becomes stronger as a result of doing this.
- No, I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3
- But if the wicked do penance for all his sins which he hath committed, and keep all my commandments, and do judgment, and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die. Ezekiel 18:21
- Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Anointing the Sick
There is no evidence that this sacrament is bestowed upon people when they are seriously ill or suffering, thus joining them with Christ’s passion when they are afflicted. In order to participate in this sacrament, the person must be anointed with chrism and have a priest administer a special blessing to their forehand and hands while the chrism is applied. A special blessing can be given to the sick in order to provide them with strength and to help them feel more connected to God in both their mind and their body.
- Is anyone 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. James 5:14
- And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them. Mark 6:13
- This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:17
Marriage is more than just a union between a man and a woman. In a sense, the devotion that a husband and wife have to each other, and to Christ, is a reflection of the love and service that Christ has to the church. There are a number of promises a couple must make when they get married, such as the promise of helping each other grow in faith, serving each other and the church, and keeping their word until death do them part.
- For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
- For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her. Ephesians 5:25
- So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-28
The Sacraments as a Path to Holiness
The sacraments are a path to holiness because they give us the grace we need to grow in our relationship with God. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially entering into a deeper union with God. This union with God helps us to become more like him, which is what holiness is all about.
The sacraments also help us to grow in holiness by providing us with the tools we need to overcome sin. When we sin, we are essentially turning away from God. The sacraments help us to turn back to God and to receive his forgiveness. This forgiveness helps us to grow in our love for God and to become more holy.
How the Sacraments Help Us Grow in Holiness
The sacraments help us to grow in holiness in a number of ways. First, the sacraments give us the grace we need to overcome sin. When we sin, we are essentially turning away from God. The sacraments help us to turn back to God and to receive his forgiveness. This forgiveness helps us to grow in our love for God and to become more holy.
Second, the sacraments help us to grow in our knowledge of God. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially learning more about God and his love for us. This knowledge of God helps us to grow in our love for him and to become more holy.
Third, the sacraments help us to grow in our love for our neighbor. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially being called to love our neighbor as ourselves. This love for our neighbor helps us to become more holy and to live a life that is pleasing to God.
The Sacraments as a Source of Grace
The sacraments are a source of grace because they give us the power of God to work in our lives. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially receiving the power of God to help us to grow in holiness, to overcome sin, and to live a holy life.
The grace of the sacraments is a powerful force that can change our lives. When we receive the sacraments with faith, we can experience the power of God working in our lives and transforming us into the people he created us to be.
The Sacraments as a Sign of God’s Love
The sacraments are a sign of God’s love because they reveal God’s love for us in a tangible way. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially experiencing God’s love for us in a way that we can touch and feel.
The sacraments remind us that God loves us unconditionally and is always with us, no matter what. They are a source of comfort and strength when we are going through difficult times. They are also a source of hope for the future, reminding us that God has a plan for our lives and will never abandon us.
How the Sacraments Reveal God’s Love for Us
The sacraments reveal God’s love for us in a number of ways. First, the sacraments are a sign of God’s commitment to us. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially entering into a covenant relationship with God. This covenant relationship is a sign of God’s commitment to us and our commitment to him.
Second, the sacraments are a sign of God’s grace. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially receiving the grace of God. This grace is the power of God working in our lives to help us to grow in holiness, to overcome sin, and to live a holy life.
Third, the sacraments are a sign of God’s love for us. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially experiencing God’s love for us in a way that we can touch and feel. This love is unconditional and everlasting.
The Sacraments as a Call to Service
The sacraments are a call to service because they remind us that we are called to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially being called to live a life of service to God and to others.
The sacraments remind us that we are all members of the Body of Christ and have a responsibility to care for one another. They call us to get involved in our communities and make a difference in the world.
The Sacraments as a Gift to the Church
The sacraments are a gift to the Church because they help to build up the Church and to make it a more holy and loving community. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially strengthening the Church and helping it to fulfill its mission.
The sacraments are a reminder that the Church is not just a building or an organization but a living community of people who are united by their faith in Jesus Christ. The sacraments help to strengthen the bonds of love and unity within the Church, and they help us to grow in our understanding of what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ.
The sacraments are a gift to the Church because they help to make the Church a more holy and loving community. When we receive the sacraments, we are essentially being transformed into the people God created us to be and becoming more like Jesus Christ. This transformation makes us more loving and compassionate and helps us build up the Church as a holy and loving community.
The sacraments are an essential part of our Catholic faith. They are a path to holiness, a source of grace, a sign of God’s love, a call to service, and a gift to the Church. When we receive the sacraments, we essentially enter a deeper union with God and become more like him. This is a journey we are all on, and the sacraments are a powerful tool that can help us grow in our faith and become more holy.
Some additional thoughts on the importance of the sacraments in our lives:
- The sacraments help us to remember our baptismal promises. When baptized, we promise to renounce sin, believe in God, and live in the Christian community. The sacraments help us keep these promises by giving us the grace to overcome sin, grow in our faith, and live a life of love and service.
- The sacraments help us to experience the real presence of Christ. In the Eucharist, we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, which is truly present in the bread and wine. This is a powerful reminder of God’s love for us and his willingness to give himself to us.
- The sacraments help us to grow in our communion with the Church. The sacraments are a sign of our unity with the Church, and they help us to grow in our understanding of what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.
The sacraments are a gift from God and a powerful way for us to grow in our faith and become more like Jesus Christ. If you are unfamiliar with the sacraments, I encourage you to learn more about them and experience their power in your life.