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The Sacraments

“So let me get this right: you Catholics believe these rituals you perform actually do something? You think God acts through them to give you grace?”

In short, yes. But this shouldn’t seem strange to a Christian. Protestants believe that Jesus calls men and women into his Church though the teaching and preaching and friendly conversation of his people. Protestants believe that God communicates his love through the loving actions of his people, that we are Christ’s hands and feet and voice in this world.

Catholics simply believe that God has chosen to grant many of his graces in this way — through his body, the Church. While the Gospels relate all that Jesus “began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven” (Acts 1:1,2); the book of Acts relates what Jesus continued to do and teach, by the Holy Spirit and through his Church.

Through the sacraments, Catholics believe, God acts to cleanse us from sin and nourish us spiritually. The sacraments are “efficacious signs”, to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church. They are visible signs or actions through which the Holy Spirit actually imparts the graces depicted by each sign.

A few Good Articles

A few Good Talks

Changed Forever: The Sacrament of Baptism

by Fr. Michael Schmitz

In this talk Mike Schmitz. one of the leading speakers to young people in the Church today, explains how Christians truly become sons and daughters of God the Father for all eternity through the sacrament of Baptism. A great introduction to the topic.

Confirmation: The Sacrament of Evangelization and Martyrdom

by Brant Pitre

There are lots of misconception about this sacrament. In this talk, Catholic biblical scholar and professor of Sacred Scripture Brant Pitre invites us to better understand the tremendous graces and calling received through this sacrament.

Confession

by Fr. Larry Richards

 This talk has become the number one talk in North America dealing with one of the Catholic Faith’s most misunderstood Sacraments. In this riveting, honest, very human, often touchingly gentle, and yes, even humorous, presentation Fr. Richards and provides listeners with hope for a closer, healing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Growth by Oath: The Seven Sacraments

by Scott Hahn

 How important are the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church? Are they merely symbols of God’s love or channels of His grace in the lives of believers today? in this set of talks Scott Hahn gives insight into the meaning of gives Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony?

The Seven Sacraments

by Steve Ray

Speaking from his own personal experience as a Baptist with a strong Biblical background, Steve offers in this series on the sacraments an interesting perspective by contrasting the diverse Evangelical and Catholic views. He quotes extensively from the Early Fathers to confirm that the Church’s teaching is rooted in the very words and actions of Christ and was faithfully practiced by the Apostles.

Stairway to Heaven: The Seven Sacraments

by Tim Staples

In this series, Tim Staples explains and defends the nature and purpose of the sacraments and reminds us that our lives should be centered around them — because through them God infuses new life into us. You could say the seven sacraments are our “stairway to heaven.” Listen to volume 1 and you’ll want II as well.

A few Good Books

The Sacramental Mystery

by Fr. Paul Haffner

The seven sacraments lie at the centre of Christian life and experience, for here God the Holy Trinity touches human lives and hearts. This book is wonderful in the total picture it gives o these mysteries — and a written in a way that is clear and understandable.

Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments

by Scott Hahn

Here Dr. Hahn explores the meaning of the most solemn, majestic, and beautiful gifts Jesus has given His Church. He endowed the sacraments with power to change lives and save souls.  They are the ordinary means by which we are given a share in the very life of God.

Sacraments in Scripture

by Tim Gray

Sacraments in Scripture is an excellent tool for deepening one’s understanding of the biblical basis for the mystery of Christ’s abiding presence with us through the sacraments.

A few Good Links

There are many, many great resources out there for learning the Catholic Faith.
Lighthouse Catholic Media is a fantastic place to start. You can also explore the solid Catholic apostolates linked below to go as far and deep as you like in your study of the Faith.

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To learn about Peter, the Keys and the Catholic view of the Papacy Look Here