A Sacramental View and Seven Sacraments

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God”
(Gerard Manley Hopkins)

“All the things in this world are gifts of God, created for us,
to be the means by which we can come to know him better,
love him more surely, and serve him more faithfully” (St Ignatius of Loyola)

Catholic Christians have a sacramental view of life and creation. In Jesus, ‘the Word was made flesh’ (Jn 1:13-14); a divine person was born into the created world (the Incarnation). Therefore creation is able to point towards God and helps us encounter God. The birth of a child, the beauty of nature, sunset, sunrise, love and forgiveness may be sacramental – when they are signs of God and ways to experience God’s presence and love.

Jesus Christ is the Sacrament of God in the world, revealing ‘God with us’ in everything he says and does. God is truly present in him. The Church is called to be the Sacrament of Jesus Christ, the ‘Body of Christ’, making him known, continuing his mission to bring God’s Reign in the world.

Seven Sacraments

The Catholic tradition recognises seven Sacraments, moments when God acts directly and powerfully in our lives. Sacraments point to the sacramentality of the whole of life. They are: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Marriage. Each is an occasion of the in-breaking of God into lives, a moment of divine presence and grace; an ‘outward sign of an inward grace.’ Their purpose is that we become more Christlike, closer to God in Jesus Christ, and that we may be sent to be Christ for the world.

Sacraments originate in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ who is present, acting directly when a Sacrament is celebrated with the Church community. Sacraments are connected with important life experiences:

Sacraments of Initiation
Baptism Birth, Community Belonging, Beginning
Confirmation Growth, Commitment, Service, Strength
Eucharist Nourishment, Thanksgiving, Life, Self-Giving, Love, Unity and Reconciliation with God, people and all creation.
Sacraments of Healing
Reconciliation            Relationships, Forgiveness, Healing, Conversion
Anointing the Sick        Suffering, Healing, Comfort, Death and Eternal Life.
Sacraments of Commitment
Holy Orders            Loving Commitment, Service, Ministry
Marriage  Loving and Being Loved, New Life, Commitment,  Friendship, Family and Community, Growth.





Sacraments aren’t magic. They depend on free response in faith. We need to try to live what they signify. For example, our Baptism is not ‘over and done with’ when the celebration is over. Our identity as baptised people, Christians alive with God’s loving Spirit, grows throughout life, moment by moment, with every decision to become more or less like Jesus Christ. Marriage is a lifetime journey, beginning on the wedding day, of two people pledged to love through the joys and disappointments of a lifetime.


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‘God so loved the world that he gave his only son’ (John 3:16)

‘The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us’ (John 1:14)

‘In him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28)

“Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations;
baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teach them to observe all the commands I have given you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

 ‘The seven Sacraments are signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church which is his Body.’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par 774)

The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify people, to build up the Body of Christ, and, finally, to worship God.’ (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy par 59)
‘The Church in Christ, is a sacrament - a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race…’  (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, par 1)

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(Paragraph numbers for the Catechism are shown - Click the Nos section to view)

Sacraments originate in the life of Jesus Christ   Nos 1114-1116 
IN BRIEF  Nos 1131-1134 



BAPTISM  No 1213, Nos 1214-1216, Nos 1217-1228 
Celebrating Baptism  Nos 1229-1245, Nos 1246-1255, No 1256, Nos 1262-1274
IN BRIEF Nos 1275-1284 

Celebrating Confirmation  Nos 1293-1301, Nos 1302-1305, Nos 1306-1311, Nos 1312-1314 
IN BRIEF  Nos 1315-1321  

EUCHARIST  Nos 1322-1323 
Source and Summit of Church Life  Nos 1324-1327, Nos 1328-1322
The Eucharist and Salvation Nos 1333-1344 
Celebration of the Eucharist  Nos 1345-1355, Nos 1356-1381, Nos 1382-1401, Nos 1402-1405 
IN BRIEF  Nos 1406-1419  


PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION  NO 1422, Nos 1423-1424, Nos 1425-1426 
Conversion of Heart Nos 1447 - 1429, Nos 1440-1449, Nos 1450-1460, Nos 1461-1467, Nos 1468-1470 
Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance  Nos 1480-1484 
IN BRIEF  Nos  1485-1498  

ANOINTING OF THE SICK  No 1499, Nos 1514-1516
Celebration of the Sacrament Nos 1517-1519, Nos 1520-1523 
Viaticum, the Last Sacrament of the Christian  Nos 1525-1525
IN BRIEF  Nos 1526-1532  


HOLY ORDERS  No 1536, Nos 1537-1538, Nos 1539-1553, Nos 1554-1571 
Celebration of This Sacrament   Nos 1572-1574, Nos 1575-1576, Nos 1577-1580, Nos 1581-1589 
IN BRIEF  Nos 1590-1600  

Marriage in God's Plan   Nos 1602-1620
Celebration of Marriage Nos 1621-1624, Nos 1625-1637, Nos 1638-1642, Nos 1638-1642, Nos 1643-1654
‘Family’ - The Domestic Church Nos 1655-1658 
IN BRIEF  Nos 1559-1566  

SACRAMENTALS Nos 1567-1576 
IN BRIEF  Nos 1677-1679 

Items of Interest

Psalms and readings from the Liturgy of the Hours, and Mass readings.

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