The sacraments are dispensations of grace for the benefit of our sanctification.

“Almighty God can and does give grace to men in answer to their internal aspirations and prayers without the use of any external sign or ceremony. This will always be possible, because God, grace, and the soul are spiritual beings. God is not restricted to the use of material, visible symbols in dealing with men; the sacraments are not necessary in the sense that they could not have been dispensed with. But, if it be shown that God has appointed external, visible ceremonies as the means by which certain graces are to be conferred on men, then in order to obtain those graces it will be necessary for men to make use of those Divinely appointed means.”1

In other words, the Lord Jesus has instituted the sacraments for specific reasons, and we should avail ourselves to them. Sacraments confer a visible and tangible reality to what would otherwise be invisible and abstract.2 They are a grace because they are an unmerited gift from the Lord, offering salvation and a partaking of His Divine nature.2

The Lord instituted seven sacraments:

Sacraments of Initiation

Sacraments of Healing

Sacraments of Service

Each sacrament has a prescribed matter, form, and minister. In each sacrament, Jesus is present (Parousia) in a special way through the minister of the sacrament. It is understood that it is Jesus himself who is conferring the grace through the minister.


  1. Catechismus concil. Trident., II, n. 4, ex S. August “De catechizandis rudibus”

Further Reading