The Sacraments

The Body and Blood of Christ

Why do we need the Sacraments?

The sacraments are sacred signs through which Christ gives his divine life to us. Through them we worship God, he shows his love to us, and his work of making us holy is carried out.

We need these visible signs. We are not airy, ethereal beings: we are physical and spiritual beings with thoughts and feelings, with bodies, minds and hearts. God has shown his divine love to the world through the humanity of Jesus Christ, through his body, his mind and his heart. Who could have imagined, if they had not known Christ, that Almighty God loves us with such intimacy and tenderness, or with such ferocity and passion, or with such humility and sacrifice? The eternal Son of God, God himself, did not remain distant and hidden, he became human - someone whom we could hear, whom we could see with our own eyes, whom we could touch with our own hands. Two thousand years later we are not just left with memories or feelings or ideas about Christ - we can see him and hear him and touch him because of his presence in the sacraments.

In baptism, through water and the baptismal words, Christ himself cleanses our sinfulness and makes us members of his body, the Church.

In confirmation, the bishop anoints us with holy oil, and Christ himself strengthens us and gives us the gifts of his Holy Spirit.

At confession, (the sacrament of penance, of reconciliation), through the words of absolution spoken by the priest, Christ himself forgives our sins.

In marriage, through their public promises of love, Christ binds together husband and wife in a lifelong union.

In the sacrament of orders, through the bishop, Christ ordains particular members of the Church to share in a special way in his priesthood.

In the sacrament of the sick, through anointing with holy oil, Christ gives new strength and hope to the sick and dying.  

In the greatest sacrament, the sacrament of the Eucharist, the Mass, Christ does not just give us his gifts, he gives us himself.

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