The Catholic Church is the mystical Body of Christ. As the Body of Christ, it is made up of both Word and Sacrament. Catholics believe that Jesus promised to raise our bodies and not just our souls to eternal life. Therefore, in every celebration of the sacraments we proclaim the Word of God and sign (touch) the body of the sacrament’s recipient. In other words, what the minister of the sacrament does to the body (washing, anointing, eating and drinking, etc.) the Holy Spirit is doing to the soul. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131).
- Three sacraments of initiation, which are baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist.
- Two sacraments of healing, namely, reconciliation and anointing of the sick.
- Two sacraments of service, that is, marriage and holy orders.
In every Christian life and in a Christian’s striving for discipleship, Christ offers these sacraments and, through them, graces his disciples, friends, brothers and sisters, that they may believe, hope, and love.
On the cross, Jesus Christ gave birth to his bride, the Church, so that through him, with him, and in him we may worship his heavenly Father. Jesus wants that his heavenly Father be worshiped by one people; in one voice of praise; in one act of worship, prayer, and devotion; and for one and at all times. In the Catholic Church, we worship God by 1) celebrating publicly the liturgy of the Church, namely the Eucharist and other sacraments; 2) praying daily the Liturgy of the Hours; 3) listening to and studying the Word of God, that is, the sacred Scriptures; 4) praying various devotions; and 5) serving the poor and one another.