Sacrament is a word that we often hear in religion, but what does it actually mean? In this blog post, we will explore Christian Sacrament and Sacramentals and how they relate to your daily life.
Definition of sacrament
Encyclopaedia Britannica defines a sacrament as "a religious sign or symbol especially associated with Christian churches, in which a sacred or spiritual power is believed to be transmitted through material elements viewed as channels of divine grace."
This means that Sacrament, in its strictest sense, is a Christian-catholic term.
"When Sacramentum was adopted as an ordinance by the early Christian Church in the 3rd century, the Latin word sacer (“holy”) was brought into conjunction with the Greek word mystērion (“secret rite”). Sacramentum was thus given a sacred mysterious significance that indicated a spiritual potency. The power was transmitted through material instruments and vehicles viewed as channels of divine grace and as benefits in ritual observances instituted by Christ. St. Augustine defined a sacrament as “the visible form of an invisible grace” or “a sign of a sacred thing.”
The sacrament is also defined as "a rite or ceremony of the catholic church".
The seven sacraments of the catholic church
Followed are the 7 sacraments of the catholic church:
Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist (also called Holy Communion), Confession, Marriage, Ordination, and Anointing of the Sick (also called Extreme Unction).
They are believed to have been instituted by Jesus Christ himself. The Eucharist is the bread and wine that Catholics eat at communion. When the priest pronounces the words of consecration over the bread and wine, the bread is changed into the body of Christ and the wine is changed into the blood of him. Thus, the host with which Catholic Christians communicate at the Eucharist is no longer natural bread but transformed into the body of Jesus Christ.
Some of the most common Sacrament are Baptism and Marriage. The Sacrament of Baptism is when an individual receives the Holy Spirit through water, which is given by the Priest in a ceremony and believed to wash away original sin.
According to the Catholic Catechism Baptism is "the basis for every other sacrament since it makes us members of Christ and provides us with an inheritance among those who are sanctified." In order to confirm this, the Sacrament of Confirmation is done years after Baptism.
The Sacrament of Marriage is when two people are joined together in holy matrimony, through God's blessing. The priesthood includes the sacrament of ordination, in which a man has ordained a priest. This ordination enables him by divine power to administer the sacraments in the service of his congregation. Finally, the Anointing of the Sick is the Sacrament that blesses a person by a priest with special blessings, when they are sick and facing death.
The Eastern Orthodox Church knows the 7 sacraments as well.
Bible verses and Sacraments
They are several passages in scripture that refer to Sacrament. Here are a few examples:
Jesus said: "Receive the Holy Spirit! To whom you forgive sins, they are forgiven; to whom you refuse forgiveness, it is refused." (John 20:23)
The priest (=successor of the apostles) does not absolve the sinner by his own power, but only on behalf of and with the authority of Christ.
Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist as a sacrament after he held the Last Supper with the 12 apostles. With the words "Do this in remembrance of me" he instructed the apostles to celebrate the Eucharist regularly in the future (1 Cor, 11:23).
Why sacrament is important to us?
Sacraments are a gift from God. Sacramentals are a crucial way to make God present in our lives. Sacramentals give us graces through which we come closer to Christ and help us on the way to becoming like Him. This life-long process is also called sanctification. Finally, they strengthen us in our daily life, especially with regular communion and confession. In the state of sanctifying grace, we are united with God (St. Padre Pio), and with him in union things can only be for the best.
Sacramentals are objects that act as a conduit for divine grace and have the capability to strengthen someone's faith in God.
Why are sacraments important for salvation?
The Sacrament of Reconciliation enables us to be reconciled with God in which our sins are forgiven through the authority of the priest and in a sincere penitent confession. Through this divine grace, we are saved for eternity in heaven. It is written: "For nothing impure will enter heaven." (Revelation 21:27)
Which sacrament can you receive every day?
Every day we can receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion during a Holy Mass celebrated in a Catholic or Orthodox Church. Theoretically, it would also be possible to make Holy Confession every day. This would increasingly refine the conscience and develop a high sensitivity to even the smallest sins.
We’ve covered what sacrament is, how many there are in total, some Bible verses on sacraments, why these rites matter to us, and our salvation process. Sacraments are important to us because they serve as a means of grace, healing, and salvation. A sacrament is a sacred sign or symbol that conveys God’s grace, which in turn provides healing for us. The sacraments are a way for us to make amends and be closer with God, which is what we’re striving for as Christians. We can use these holy symbols every day to receive God’s love and help heal ourselves. If you haven't been receiving them or if you feel like you need more of them, don't worry! There's always time to start again and take advantage of their healing power. Sacraments aren’t just available on Sundays during Mass. They're available every day through priests who can administer these rites at your convenience. We strongly recommend to make use of it regularly and qualify for every day! God bless you.