Sacraments

Some Information on the Sacraments from the Compendium of the Catholic Church

CHAPTER ONE

The Paschal Mystery in the Age of the Church

THE LITURGY - WORK OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY

221. In what way is the Father the source and the goal of the liturgy? 1077-1083 1110 Through the liturgy the Father fills us with his blessings in the Word made flesh who died and rose for us and pours into our hearts the Holy Spirit. At the same time, the Church blesses the Father by her worship, praise, and thanksgiving and begs him for the gift of his Son and the Holy Spirit. 222. What is the work of Christ in the liturgy? 1084-1090 In the liturgy of the Church, it is his own paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present. By giving the Holy Spirit to his apostles he entrusted to them and their successors the power to make present the work of salvation through the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments, in which he himself acts to communicate his grace to the faithful of all times and places throughout the world. 223. How does the Holy Spirit work in the liturgy of the Church? 1091-1109 1112 The very closest cooperation is at work in the liturgy between the Holy Spirit and the Church. The Holy Spirit prepares the Church to encounter her Lord. He recalls and manifests Christ to the faith of the assembly. He makes the mystery of Christ really present. He unites the Church to the life and mission of Christ and makes the gift of communion bear fruit in the Church.

THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH

224. What are the sacraments and which are they? 1113-1131 The sacraments, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, are efficacious signs of grace perceptible to the senses . Through them divine life is bestowed upon us. There are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. 225. What is the relationship of the sacraments to Christ? 1114-1116 The mysteries of Christ’s life are the foundations of what he would henceforth dispense in the sacraments, through the ministers of his Church.
“What was visible in our Savior has passed over into his mysteries.” (Saint Leo the Great)
226. What is the link between the sacraments and the Church? 1117-1119 Christ has entrusted the sacraments to his Church. They are the sacraments “of the Church” in a twofold sense: they are “from her” insofar as they are actions of the Church which is the sacrament of Christ’s action; and they are “for her” in as much as they build up the Church. 227. What is the sacramental character? 1121 It is a spiritual “seal” bestowed by the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. It is a promise and guarantee of divine protection. By virtue of this seal the Christian is configured to Christ, participates in a variety of ways in his priesthood and takes his part in the Church according to different states and functions. He is, therefore, set apart for divine worship and the service of the Church. Because this character is indelible the sacraments that impress it on the soul are received only once in life. 228. What is the relationship between the sacraments and faith? 1122-1126 1133 The sacraments not only presuppose faith but with words and ritual elements they nourish, strengthen, and express it. By celebrating the sacraments, the Church professes the faith that comes from the apostles. This explains the origin of the ancient saying, “lex orandi, lex credendi, that is, the Church believes as she prays. 229. Why are the sacraments efficacious? 1127-1128 1131 The sacraments are efficacious ex opere operato (“by the very fact that the sacramental action is performed”) because it is Christ who acts in the sacraments and communicates the grace they signify. The efficacy of the sacraments does not depend upon the personal holiness of the minister. However, the fruits of the sacraments do depend on the dispositions of the one who receives them. 230. For what reason are the sacraments necessary for salvation? 1129 For believers in Christ the sacraments, even if they are not all given to each of the faithful, are necessary for salvation because they confer sacramental grace, forgiveness of sins, adoption as children of God, conformation to Christ the Lord and membership in the Church. The Holy Spirit heals and transforms those who receive the sacraments. 231. What is sacramental grace? 1129, 1131 1134, 2003 Sacramental grace is the grace of the Holy Spirit which is given by Christ and is proper to each sacrament. This grace helps the faithful in their journey toward holiness and so assists the Church as well to grow in charity and in her witness to the world. 232. What is the relationship between the sacraments and everlasting life? 1130 In the sacraments the Church already receives a foretaste of eternal life, while “awaiting in blessed hope, the appearing in glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13).
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