A sacrament is an outward efficacious sign instituted by Christ, that bestows upon all creation His transforming Grace. Jesus Christ himself is THE sacrament, as He gave His life to save all humanity. Our Lord’s incarnation and human nature is the outward sign or the instrument of His Divinity. It is through His humanity that the life of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit come to us as Grace through the Sacraments. It is Jesus Christ alone who mediates the Sacraments which allows His abundant grace to flow into Holy Mother Church and all His faithful.
The word sacrament is a direct translation of the Greek word mysterion. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. The three Sacraments of Christian Initiation are Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. The two Sacraments of Healing are Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, and the two Sacraments of Vocation are Holy Orders and Matrimony. Three Sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, are given once, as they render a permanent seal or character upon one’s soul (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 4:30, Revelations 7:3).
Each Sacrament consists of a visible external rite, which is composed of matter and form, the matter being the action, such as the pouring of water, and the form being the words spoken by the minister. Each sacramental rite confers a special ecclesial effect and sacramental grace appropriate for each Sacrament. The Sacraments occur at pivotal events and give meaning to a person’s life.