The sacraments (7):
Holy Confession (Reconciliation),
Anointing of the Sick
To completely understand this topic, we should first define what a Sacrament is.
A sacrament is "An outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace."
It is also considered "A visible sign of the hidden reality."
OK, so what does that really mean?
The loving God who made us, wants us to be with Him. God knows how difficult it is for us humans to love someone we cannot see or touch. So the invisible God, whom "No eyes can see," was seen in the human form through Jesus.
As we pray at Christmas: "In the wonder of the incarnation, your eternal Word has brought to the eyes of faith a new and radiant vision of your glory. In Him we see our God made visible and so are caught up in the love of the God we cannot see." (Christmas Preface I)
An important step in enriching our understanding of sacrament is to see Jesus himself, in his humanity, as the first and original sacrament. It all starts with Jesus himself, is our sacrament, our visible sign of the invisible God.
But Jesus is no longer in his human form, He is no longer among us. We can no longer see him.
However, Jesus did send the Holy Spirit to us.
The Seven Sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ, the head, through the church which is his body.
It is through the Church, and certain members of the church (Bishops, Priests, and Deacons) that the sacraments are confected upon the people.
Remembering that the Church is the body of Christ, Christ is the Head, and the Baptised Christians are His body, that Christ himself gives the sacraments to itself through the ordained ministry of the clergy.
OK, I think I get it!!!
Our understanding of sacrament is related to our ideas of grace and presence.
Each sacrament is a celebration of God's real presence. In celebrating the sacraments, we the church, proclaim anew the mysterious plan of God to bring all things together in Christ.
To accomplish this great work, Christ is always present in his church. By His power, He is present in the sacraments, so that when the church celebrates the sacraments, it is really Christ himself, who celebrates the sacraments, or we can say sacraments are the celebration of the presence of Christ in our midst.