The Sacraments

Lesson 23 from the Baltimore Cathechism

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304. What is a sacrament?

A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.

305. How many sacraments are there?

There are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

306. From whom do the sacraments receive their power to give grace?

The sacraments receive their power to give grace from God, through the merits of Jesus Christ.

Let a man so account us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (I Corinthians 4:1)

307. Do the sacraments give sanctifying grace?

The sacraments do give sanctifying grace.

Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 8:17)

308. Does each of the sacraments also give a special grace?

Each of the sacraments also gives a special grace, called sacramental grace, which helps one to carry out the particular purpose of that sacrament.

309. Do the sacraments always give grace?

The sacraments always give grace if we receive them with the right dispositions.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. (I Corinthians 11:27)

310. Why are Baptism and Penance called sacraments of the dead?

Baptism and Penance are called sacraments of the dead because their chief purpose is to give the supernatural life of sanctifying grace to souls spiritually dead through sin.

Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

311. Why are Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony called sacraments of the living?

Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony are called sacraments of the living because their chief purpose is to give more grace to souls already spiritually alive through sanctifying grace.

312. What sin does one commit who knowingly receives a sacrament of the living in mortal sin?

He who knowingly receives a sacrament of the living in mortal sin commits a mortal sin of sacrilege, because he treats a sacred thing with grave irreverence.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. (I Corinthians 11:27)

313. Which are the sacraments that can be received only once?

The sacraments that can be received only once are Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.

314. Why can Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders be received only once?

Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders can be received only once because they imprint on the soul a spiritual mark, called a character, which lasts forever.

And do not grieve the Holy Ghost of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

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