There are seven sacraments in the Catholic Church – Baptism, Reconciliation, the Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders – and each can be described as sign of God’s love for us, a sharing in the life of Christ, or in the words of the old Baltimore Catechism, “an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.”

Each of the sacraments features some external sign or physical element (water, oil, the candle and white garment in Baptism, for instance) and each imparts a particular grace proper to that sacrament. A person participating in the Sacrament of Matrimony, for example, would receive particular graces that would help him or her to fulfill the promises of marriage.

St. Augustine defined a sacrament as the “visible form of an invisible grace” and each sacrament is intended to unite us more closely to Christ and to help us on our pilgrimage through life as His disciples.

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