The Seven Sacraments Minibook
The Seven Sacraments
The Holy Eucharist
Anointing of the Sick
Introduction to the Seven Sacraments
The Sacraments are one of the greatest sources of strength the Lord has given us, major weapons against Satan and his fallen angels. Why do you think the Sacraments have been under attack since the beginning of the Church? You know that Satan is going to try to destroy any of these gifts the Lord has given us because he knows the power they wield.
God loves us so much. These Sacraments are just one more way of Our Lord's keeping the promise He made to us, "I will not leave you orphans; I will be with you until the end of the world." He knew we would have needs as individual Christians and also as members of the Body of Christ. He knew we would need strength to complete the journey to Him in paradise. He gave us the means to reach out and touch Him and by touching Him, fill ourselves with His Spirit. He gave us Sacraments!
Sacraments are "Powers that come forth" from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in His Body, the Church. They are "the masterworks of God" in the new and everlasting covenant.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in quoting from the Council of Trent, teaches that all Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord. The actual passage from the Council of Trent is as follows:
"If anyone shall say that the Sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, or that there are more or less than seven, namely Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction; Holy Orders, and Matrimony, or even that anyone of these seven is not truly and strictly speaking a Sacrament, let him be anathema."
"Seated at the right hand of the Father" and pouring out the Holy Spirit on His Body, which is the Church, Christ now acts through the Sacraments He instituted to communicate His grace. 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."
The term Sacrament comes from the Latin and the Greek. The Greek word Mysterion was translated into Latin by two terms, Mysterium and Sacramentum. Later, the Mysterium was dropped in favor of Sacramentum, emphasizing the visible sign of the hidden reality of Salvation which was indicated by the word Mysterium. Thus the Sacrament is the outer sign of an inner truth.
The word Sacrament is the English equivalent of the Latin Sacramentum. Much of what we have been taught about the Sacraments came from the Council of Florence in 1431, the Council of Trent in 1547, and Vatican Council II in 1963.
The seven Sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head, throughout the Church which is His Body. The Church then both contains and communicates the invisible grace she signifies.