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What is the purpose of the sacraments?

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 5:00 PM on Oct. 2, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (8)
  • The Sacraments are visible signs instituted by Christ in order to attain Grace. The sacraments give sanctifying grace and each of the sacraments also gives a special grace, called sacramental grace, which helps one to carry out the particular purpose of that sacrament.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:33 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • Yes, what anon said. For Catholics, the seven sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence. But they are more than just symbols - they actually do something.

    When Jesus died upon the Cross to redeem us from our sins, it did not mean that from then on everyone would have to go to Heaven whether they wanted to or not. God respects his gift of free will. When Jesus died upon the Cross, he paid an infinite price for an inexhaustible flow of grace. That grace would enable each person to turn back to God and to remain united with God through this life and through eternity. Catholics understand sacraments as the means by which Jesus provides for this flow of grace to individual souls.
    eringobrough

    Answer by eringobrough at 6:54 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • Catholic believe that this method of using sacraments - a union of the material and spiritual - is consistant with the way God made us - a union of body and soul. The grace itself would be invisible, as by its nature it must be. But the grace would come to us through the visible things that we deal with daily. And so God took the common things from the world about us—objects which we could taste and touch and feel, words that we could hear and gestures that we could understand—and made these the carriers of His grace.


    Catholic Sacraments: A Primer is a helpful article.

    eringobrough

    Answer by eringobrough at 6:58 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • The Sacraments are visible signs instituted by Christ in order to attain Grace. The sacraments give sanctifying grace and each of the sacraments also gives a special grace, called sacramental grace, which helps one to carry out the particular purpose of that sacrament.


    So you believe that you must do these sacraments to earn grace? I always believed that the sacraments, both for Catholics and Protestants were a visual, symbolic representation of Christs work, not a way to earn grace.

    teamquinn

    Answer by teamquinn at 9:06 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • So you believe that you must do these sacraments to earn grace?


    The Catholic Church does not teach that one earns grace by receiving sacraments.  Grace is a free gift from God and there's nothing we can do to earn that Grace.  But it's as I explained - the sacraments are a way for us to experience God's grace.  They are the means by which Jesus gave us to each individually receive the grace Christ earned for us all through His death and resurrection.  Now God being God can distribute His grace anyway he wants - but Catholics understand that the sacraments are the special way that Jesus have us individually to know and experience His sanctfying grace.

    eringobrough

    Answer by eringobrough at 9:27 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • O.K. I'm really trying to understand, not being argumentive. So do you then believe that God give more grace to Catholics who practice the sacraments than to those who do not or to those who are protestant Christians?
    teamquinn

    Answer by teamquinn at 11:19 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • I appreciate you trying to understand! It's not that grace is really quantifiable - that someone would have more or less grace. You don't need a certain amout of grace in your soul to make it into heaven - any amount will do. And when someone commits a mortal sin they throw away all the sanctifying grace God gave them - so even if they had "more" they would loose it. And without sanctifying grace, we cannot enter heaven. We receive sanctifying grace during the sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation which is why it's important to confess our mortal (serious) sins.

    Now the sacraments are not the only way God bestows sanctifying grace - but for Catholics they are one of the most important. And receiving the sacraments - really receiving them with faith and love of Christ and not just going through the motions - gives us the spiritual strength to avoid mortal sin.
    eringobrough

    Answer by eringobrough at 11:44 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • It goes along with the understanding that our salvation is a continuing process and not a one-time event. At any point in time a non-Catholic may have more/less grace than a Catholic or vice versa. It doens't matter because what we need to do is persevere until the end (Matt. 10:22).

    See Catholics believe Christ does more than just declare us saved - we believe he actually saves us. It's not just a legal declaration but through His grace God changes us, makes us more holy, sanctifies us. It is a real transformation of our soul like when Paul speaks of us as "a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17), "created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph. 4:24). And one of the ways Christ transforms us is through the sanctifying grace we receive through the sacraments.
    eringobrough

    Answer by eringobrough at 11:48 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

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