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Sacraments - The Holy Spirit at work in the Church
Transcript of Sacraments - The Holy Spirit at work in the Church
Why are the Sacraments essential to living as a Catholic?
The exact definition of a sacrament is that it is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. The outward signs are the material symbols of the sacraments, for example: water, oil, candle etc. The graces conferred by the sacrament are what we call sanctifying grace. Sanctifying grace is the sharing in God’s life. There are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1113) the whole liturgical life of the Church centers on the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments.
The sacraments are essential to living as a Catholic because they help us grow stronger and deeper in our faith by blessing us with graces. The graces are given to us through the works of Holy Spirit through the sacraments.
How do the Sacraments build up and nourish us as the Body of Christ?
The Sacraments build us up and nourish us as the Body of Christ through the Sacraments of Initiation. The sacraments of initiation are Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Through Baptism we are born anew in the Church and are made a new member of the catholic faith. We are cleansed from original sin through Baptism. Eucharist is the sacrament where we receive the food of life, Jesus’ body and blood. In this sacrament we receive the real Body of Christ which is a blessing and a reminder that Jesus sacrificed his life for all of us. In Confirmation, we are strengthened by the works of the Holy Spirit. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1116) Sacraments are "powers that comes forth" from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving, which means that through the Sacraments, God is touching us and guiding us to follow in his footsteps.
The Seven Sacraments
The Holy Spirit Works through all of the Sacraments
The sacrament of Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian Life, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are cleansed from original sin and we become members of Christ. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1215) Baptism is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit” because it signifies the birth of water and the spirit. There are 5 symbols of Baptism:
1. The White Garment: signifies purity, innocence and the person’s new life in Christ.
2. Oil of Chrism: used on top of the head for strengthening and healing.
3. Oil of Catechumens: rubbed on the chest to prepare for Baptism. This oil symbolizes strength and protection from evil.
4. Water: represents new life and birth; cleansing.
5. Cross: recalls the saving power of Christ’s death and resurrection.
The sacrament of Eucharist completes Christian initiation because within this sacrament you are receiving the real body and blood of Christ. This sacrament re-enacts the last supper when Jesus held up a piece of bread and said “this is my body which will be given up for you, do this in memory of me.” Then he held up wine and said “this is my blood which will be given up for you, do this in memory of me.” These statements represent his sacrifice for us. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1341) Jesus’ command “do this in memory of me” asks us to remember what he did for all of us and also to remember his resurrection and intercession in the presence of the father. The two main symbols of Eucharist are:
1. Bread: represents Jesus’ body that he is sacrificing for us
2. Wine: represents Jesus’ blood that he is also sacrificing for us.
The sacrament of Confirmation strengthens our faith in Christ. Confirmation is what helps us grow deeper as Christians because of the sanctifying graces of the Holy Spirit. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1293) the right of Confirmation signifies and imprints a spiritual seal. A spiritual seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal authority or ownership of an object. In this case, the spiritual seal is the Holy Spirit. A bishop is always there at the confirmation to administer the sacrament. The main symbols of Confirmation are:
1. Laying of the Hands: represents a blessing and the bond of the Holy Spirit through the bishop and the candidate.
2. Anointing with Chrism oil: Just like Baptism Chrism oil represents strengthening and healing.
Penance and Reconciliation
Penance and Reconciliation is the sacrament of confessing/ repenting sins and asking for forgiveness. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1424) this sacrament is called the “sacrament of forgiveness” since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the individual pardon and peace, which means that their sins have been forgiven. At the end of every confession penance is given to the person by the priest. Penance can be known as an act of sacrifice or atonement for your sins. A complete confession always requires Penance. The main symbol of Penance and Reconciliation is:
1. A Raised Hand: When a priest raises his hand he is removing the person’s sins and giving them blessings of absolution that their sins are forgiven.
Anointing of the Sick
This sacrament is made to bring spiritual and physical strength during an illness. This sacrament is the sacrament of healing. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1511) the sacrament that intends to strengthen those who are being tried by illness is the Anointing of the Sick. The two symbols of Anointing of the Sick are:
1. Laying of the hands: represents the blessing to call upon the Holy Spirit.
2. Anointing with oil: signifies the strength to heal an ill person.
Holy Orders is the sacrament of apostolic ministry, meaning the mission entrusted by Jesus to his apostles will continue to be exercised in the church. The Holy Orders can also be known as priest hood since becoming a priest is part of the apostolic ministry. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1565) through the sacrament of Holy Orders priests share in the universal dimensions of the mission that Christ entrusted to the apostles. The three main symbols of Holy Orders are:
1. Chalice: represents the celebration of the Eucharist to offer a sacrifice to the Lord
2. Plate of Host: also represents the celebration of the Eucharist to offer a sacrifice to the Lord
3. Stole: signifies that they are officially a member of apostolic ministry.
Matrimony is the sacrament of marriage between a man and a woman. The partnership between a man and a woman for the rest of their life is called a matrimonial covenant. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1605) Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another. The main symbol of Matrimony is the ring. The ring represents the matrimonial covenant between the man and woman and also with God in their marriage.
By: Emily Cristobal