id The sacraments: quick ideas on the sacraments. What are they? Are the sacraments real treasures? Effects of the sacraments.


THE SACRAMENTS
  • A. What are the Sacraments?
  • B. Which are the Sacraments?
A. WHAT ARE THE SACRAMENTS?

1. What marks did Jesus leave behind when He was with us? Thanks to Him, we have great gifts available; they can be classified into three types:

  • Spiritual Goods, like Redemption, Sanctifying Grace and the treasure of counting on the motherly protection of Mary.
  • Visible Gifts like the Pope, Peterís successor and guarantee of safety in our way.
  • Gifts partly visible and partly spiritual, like the sacraments, which attract spiritual gifts or graces through visible signs.
2. What is ďGraceĒ? We call Grace any gift from God. But more particularly we give that name to the Sanctifying Grace. This is a supernatural gift which gives man his divine condition since man turns from sinner to child of God.

3. Is there a great difference comparing the fact of being in state of grace or not? The difference is huge. On the one hand you can see the diversion from God and heading to hell. On the other hand, friendship and divine sonship are the state of affairs; meaning becoming God-like and having Heavenís doors open for us.

4. What are the chief means to obtain graces? The main sources of grace are prayer and sacraments. Some sacraments bring about the Sanctifying Grace. Most sacraments increase this grace and obtain other divine aids.

5. What are the Sacraments? Sacraments are outward signs of an invisible inner grace instituted by Jesus Christ to give us his Grace. They are seven and yield spiritual fruits which we will talk about later.


B. WHICH ARE THE SACRAMENTS?

6. Which are the first two sacraments?

  • The first sacrament is Baptism. It erases original sin, granting sanctifying grace for first time. It is like the birth to spiritual life.
  • The second one is Confirmation. It increases the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the soul and strengthens us spiritually.
7. How can one obtain Godís pardon for the sins? God has supplied us with the Sacrament of Confession or Penance to forgive our sins. In order to receive this sacrament fruitfully we need to observe two conditions:
  • To be sorry for those sins. In addition one must have the resolution or intention of not committing them again. The point is not foretelling the future but rather taking the decision of not sinning again.
  • It is necessary to tell those sins to a priest so that he forgives them in Godís name. It is also mandatory to mention all grave or serious sins and the approximate number of times they were committed.
8. What effects does the sacrament of Confession have? Somehow it works like medicines, which usually have two aims: healing and protecting. Confession achieves these two effects: it forgives sins and grants the necessary graces to easily overcome future temptations.

9. What aspects does the Sacrament of Eucharist refer to? This sacrament entails three great aspects:

  • in the Eucharist Jesus Christ is really present in all consequences of worship, respect, desire of accompanying Him in the Tabernacles, material care, etc.
  • the sacrifice of the Cross is repeated at Mass. It is the greatest offering men can give to God.
  • We receive Jesus Christ himself in the act of receiving the Communion. This is the food that nurtures and replaces the strength of the soul. It also unites us with Christ, letting us progressively become like Him.
10. What are the requirements to receive the Holy Communion worthily? There are three conditions to observe in order to receive the Holy Communion:
  • faith: to have received baptism and knowing who you are receiving under the appearance of bread.
  • be in state of grace, that is to say, having received in confession the forgiveness for all serious sins committed. This is essential. No one must receive God without presenting the right disposition.
  • a period of at least one hour must have elapsed from the last food taken.
11. What is the Anointment of the Sick? The Sacrament of the Anointment of the Sick aids those who are in danger of death due to sickness or old age. It strengthens them in those moments in which Eternal Life is finally coming. It is an important sacrament and it is convenient not to wait until the last minute to confer it.

12. Who are the Priests? They are Christian faithful who have received the sacrament of Order from the hands of a Bishop. This action confers them the power of celebrating Mass and administering the rest of the sacraments. Lastly, they can preach the Gospel with authority.

13. Is Marriage a Sacrament? We call Marriage the permanent union of a man and a woman, thus making up a family. The betrothed, at the moment of marriage, commit themselves to love one another forever. Also, they firmly decide to receive and train the children that God may send them. God our Lord has willed to grant special graces to those who get married so that they achieve this mission to their best. Christ instituted for them the Sacrament of Marriage.

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