by the Rev. Mark Connolly
To many Catholics and non-catholics, the seven sacraments of the Church are hard to explain. Theologians have for centuries taught that these seven sacraments cannot be isolated from the theology of God's mercy and love. Theologians have also taught that all the seven sacraments are interlinked, intimately connected with the suffering and resurrection of Christ. From Tertullian, to Augustine, to St. Thomas, these themes have been repeated. The sacraments for centuries have been ingredients of spirituality. When you go back through the centuries to the canonized and uncanonized saints, the sacraments have been seven signs leading the followers of Christ to the kingdom of God. All the seven sacraments derive their powers from Christ. The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, extends the work of Christ through the sacraments.
The missionaries who brought the sacraments to pagan lands, the priest who brought the sacraments to the local parish, the nuns who taught the sacraments in parochial schools, all those parents and grandparents who lived the life of the sacraments, they also in their own way brought the love and mercy of God into our society and civilization. For centuries the true meaning of the sacraments has not been fully understood. These seven sacraments have brought spirituality into our homes and hearts. They have given us a sample of the love and mercy of God. They have helped the sacred become reality. They have given us a taste of heaven on earth. They have made Christ real.
The Sacraments of the Church are:
3. HOLY EUCHARIST
6. HOLY ORDERS
7. ANOINTING OF THE SICK