“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Jesus Christ is the fullness of God’s presence in the world of time. The place where we meet Him in a most remarkable fashion is in the Sacraments, seven unique sacred events that He established for us as moments of grace to share in His divine life.
- Saint Ambrose of Milan (d. 397 A.D.) asserts that, “you have shown yourself to me, Christ, face-to-face. I meet you in your Sacraments.”
- Saint Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274 A.D.) teaches that “a Sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it – Christ’s Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ’s Passion – grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us – future glory.”
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Sacraments as “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church by which divine life is dispensed to us” (1131).
The seven Sacraments that Christ Himself established for our celebration and encounter of Him touch all the stages and most important moments of Christian life: they commence the Christian life and bring forth healing, deepen joy and define mission. Each of the seven Sacraments has its own vital place, although the Holy Eucharist stands at the center of them all.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
SACRAMENT: An efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us through the work of the Holy Spirit (774, 1131). The Sacraments (called “Mysteries” in the Eastern [Catholic] Churches are seven in number: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance (or Reconciliation), Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony (1210).