All the seven sacraments have their origin in the life and teachings of our founder, Jesus Christ. They are:
B a p t i s m
"Baptism is the most important of all the Sacraments. By it one receives the only thing that really matters, supernatural life."
Membership into the Catholic Church and into the family of God, is a totally free gift. An eternal "pension plan" is on offer (in the form of eternal life in heaven), but God will not force this gift on anyone. You are free to join this, or not, and receive all the good things which are on offer. This is called the Sacrament of Baptism.
Receiving baptism means that you receive new life and a new identity. You are marked with a permanent seal which says, "I have chosen to live with God in heaven for ever". It says that "I have chosen to join and become a member of God's family".
Whether you are a baby or adult, the actions that take place and the words that are said at baptism serve as a channel for something supernatural. Through them the character of the baptised person is changed forever. Their very nature is raised to a higher spiritual level and they share entry into a spiritual, Godly family, and into a new spiritual life.
The effects of receiving this channel are that a person receives a new spiritual birth. Provided they are truly sorry for any wrongs they may have done in the past, they are completely forgiven. They are washed from the inside out, made clean from what we call "sin". They receive the Spirit of God, are united with Him in a special way and become His son or daughter.
During the baptismal ceremony water is poured on a person, or they can be immersed in it. The priest says:
"I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. AMEN."
C o n f e s s i o n
For catholics the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a powerful channel of supernatural life. Its effects are to liberate people from all the negative baggage they might be carrying as a result of things they regret and have done wrong. The wrong things we consciously do are called Sins.
Sin is defined as an offence against God through our thoughts, words, actions, and things we don't do that we should have done. The seven principle sins are: pride, covetousness (a longing to possess), lust, anger, gluttony (greed), envy and sloth (laziness). click 7 Deadly Sins ! to know more about the seven sins.
When we commit these sins, they have the effect of robbing us of spiritual strength and make us feel sad and unhappy. They can really wear us down and wound us from the inside out.
The priest is sworn to absolute secrecy and he will NEVER EVER tell a living person what has been said. Before the person leaves the room the priest says the prayers of forgiveness (called Absolution). The person is forgiven and is spiritually cleansed and liberated and begins life again with a clean slate. Click here to read more aboutConfession
Catholics are encouraged to receive this channel, which is sometimes called “Confession”, at least once a year (many go monthly or even daily). No one else is in the room (confessional box) when they go except the priest. The Catholic then names the things they would like to be forgiven of.
In turn, Catholics are called to forgive people in their own lives who may have wronged them in some way.
God, through a Catholic priest, forgives a person in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The priest acts as God’s special forgiving representative.
Channels of supernatural life in the Catholic Church take different forms. One of the ways we receive spiritual gifts is through the Sacrament of Confirmation. When receiving this channel, THE Spirit of God comes upon a person in a new way. Although an individual receives God's spirit at baptism, the coming of God's spirit at Confirmation strengthens a person in a powerful way. When someone is confirmed the individual receives seven spiritual gifts:
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The nature of The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are as follows:
Wisdom is both the knowledge of and judgment about "divine things" and the ability to judge and direct human affairs according to divine truth (I/I.1.6; I/II.69.3; II/II.8.6; II/II.45.1–5).
Understanding is penetrating insight into the very heart of things, especially those higher truths that are necessary for our eternal salvation—in effect, the ability to "see" God (I/I.12.5; I/II.69.2; II/II.8.1–3).
Counsel allows a man to be directed by God in matters necessary for his salvation (II/II.52.1).
Fortitude denotes a firmness of mind in doing good and in avoiding evil, particularly when it is difficult or dangerous to do so, and the confidence to overcome all obstacles, even deadly ones, by virtue of the assurance of everlasting life (I/II.61.3; II/II.123.2; II/II.139.1).
Knowledge is the ability to judge correctly about matters of faith and right action, so as to never wander from the straight path of justice (II/II.9.3).
Piety is, principally, revering God with filial affection, paying worship and duty to God, paying due duty to all men on account of their relationship to God, and honoring the saints and not contradicting Scripture. The Latin word pietas denotes the reverence that we give to our father and to our country; since God is the Father of all, the worship of God is also called piety (I/II.68.4; II/II.121.1).
Fear of God is, in this context, "filial" or chaste fear whereby we revere God and avoid separating ourselves from him—as opposed to "servile" fear, whereby we fear punishment (I/II.67.4; II/II.19.9).
M a r r i a g e
Love between a man and a woman is a wonderful God given gift, but once the honeymoon period is over, it can be very demanding. Sadly, in today's society, very few couples stay together for their whole lives.
For Catholics, the channel (sacrament) of marriage not only makes public a couple's love for one another, but also gives them the supernatural strength to persevere and grow in their love for one another, once the going gets tough. It helps sustain their love and deepens it in a way beyond words.
The Sacrament of Marriage requires a couple to come to Church and the bond of their love to be sealed by the pronouncement of vows and by receiving God's blessing. Receiving God's blessing means that their coming together as a couple is made holy and that God’s love is at the heart of their relationship.
The Sacrament of Marriage was created by God at the beginning of time. We read in the Bible (in the Book of Genesis) that God said that the first man and woman should come together and become one flesh. Couples were given a mandate to marry, set-up home together and make love, with God's blessing.
This love contract made between a couple in marriage cannot be broken once it is made.
The effect of the marriage sacrament gives couples the supernatural power to be faithful to the living out of this commitment - warts and all.
Sadly, relationships do break down for a variety of reasons. Although the Catholic Church teaches the ideal of marriage should be safe-guarded, it supports those whose marriages have fallen apart. Those people affected still have a very important and full place in the Catholic community
H o l y O r d e r s
Each of us has a calling in life – some of us are called to be fathers, other mothers, some of us are called to be nurses, others builders. We each have unique gifts and talents and are called into some definite kind of service. In the Catholic tradition, a very distinct and special calling is that of the priesthood. Someone is made a priest through a supernatural channel called Holy Orders.
No man is born a priest. After a demanding selection process, and a long period of training, he receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders through the hands of a senior priest called a Bishop. The man is now said to be "ordained" and takes on a new identity which lasts his whole life.
Catholic priests do not marry. They are given a special gift to enable them to live this way. By not being married they are free from family commitments, have an un-divided heart, so as to totally serve those in their local community at any time of the day or night.
The priesthood is believed to be an enormous gift for the world. Through priests we can be spiritually healed and fed, listened to and find a helping hand. They are our spiritual fathers who offer us good things. It is a way of life Jesus Christ called some of his first followers to more than 2000 years ago.
Sacrament of the Sick
Since the beginning of Christianity special olive oil has been used to put on the sick and dying. The oil has had prayers said over it by a priest to give it a spiritual power. It is believed to strengthen and console the sick or dying person.
The oil is believed to give the person receiving it help to carry their illness and/or prepare for death. Usually, it brings peace and comfort to the suffering person. It also has the effect of cleansing them spiritually which is called "the remission of sins".
The oil removes from the sick person's spirit the negative trace of wrongs they might have done, bringing them back to full spiritual health before (particularly in the case of the dying) they meet their maker.
The prayers the priest says when he puts the oil on the sick person are:
"Through this holy anointing and His most loving mercy, may the Lord assist you by the grace of the Holy Spirit, so that when you have been freed from your sins, He may save you and in His goodness raise you up. AMEN."
Before Jesus Christ, left this earth, he gathered his friends together to share a meal. At this meal, Jesus didn't offer his friends a normal menu. He offered them his very body and blood to eat, so that they might receive spiritual life. It must have come as quite a shock! (See the Bible, Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 26, verse 26). Every year, on the Thursday evening before Easter Sunday, Catholics gather in church to commemorate the very first "eucharistic meal" offered by Jesus. This day is called Maundy Thursday.
He told his friends that they should come together to share this meal after he had gone in remembrance of him. Each Sunday (and sometimes during the week as well) his Catholic followers go to Church to celebrate and share in this unique meal. They believe that although they may eat what appears to be bread, through the hands of the priest, the bread and also the wine used, are truly turned into the body and blood of Christ!