The Catholic Church has seven sacraments instituted by Christ: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. These sacraments touch all stages of Christian life and as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “…they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith.” As we grow in our natural life, these sacraments have been provided for us to grow in our spiritual life.
The Seven Sacraments are divided in three sections: the sacraments of Christian initiation, the sacraments of healing and the sacraments at the service of communion and the mission of the faithful.
The sacraments of Christian initiation are: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. These three sacraments are the foundation of Christian life. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “…The faithful are born a new by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food for eternal life…”
The sacraments of healing are: Penance and the Anointing of the Sick. These two sacraments are made available to the faithful to aid in their pilgrimage while on earth. The new life we have received by the sacraments of Christian initiation can be weakened and even lost by sin. Jesus willed that the Church continue, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to do His work of healing and salvation through the sacraments of healing.The sacraments at the service of communion and the mission of the faithful are: the sacrament of Holy Orders and Matrimony. The sacrament of Holy Orders is a calling by God to men to become a bishop, priest or deacon and in so doing become configured to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that each individual may serve as Christ’s instrument for His Church. From the sacrament of Matrimony or Marriage comes a bond between a man and a woman that is perpetual and exclusive, giving spouses strength and a consecration for the duties and the dignity of their state by this sacrament.