THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS
Click on the images to learn more about the sacraments of the Catholic Church.
ABOUT THE SACRAMENTS
The seven sacraments are God's chosen way of dispensing his graces to his people, the Church. All seven have a biblical basis and have been practiced from the earliest days of the Church, even though the exact procedure (or the "rite," as it is called) may have changed somewhat over the years.
The seven sacraments are: Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, Reconciliation, and Anointing of the Sick.
The sacraments are not "magic." They do really confer graces, such as forgiving sins or bestowing special gifts; but this is not because, for example, the act of pouring water over a person's head magically heals original sin. Rather, it is because God, through his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, has shown us how he wants his graces to be dispensed, has given the Church the authority to dispense them, and has assured us that, when a sacrament is performed using the proper form and matter, he will do his part and confer the graces promised in the sacrament.
Or, to phrase it another way, a sacrament in and of itself does not confer God's grace, but rather, it is the ordinary means by which God has chosen to confer his grace. We say "ordinary" means because, of course, God is God, and he can bestow his graces extraordinarily, that is, in any way and at any time that he chooses. However, for ordinary purposes, he has chosen to bestow them through the seven sacraments of the Church.