“A sacrament is an efficacious sing of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us through the work of the Holy Spirit. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.” Catechism of the Catholic Church #1210
Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life:they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.
The first three sacraments are called the sacraments of initiation wherein a person becomes “initiated” into the life of grace and the life of the Church. The sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick are considered sacraments of healing that restore the faithful to full communion and fellowship with the Lord, one another, and His Church. Holy Orders and matrimony are sacraments that reflect the ongoing mission of the Church to preach and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ on earth. Sacraments are visible signs of inward grace that communicate the selfless work of Christ to His faithful people.
The sacraments as a whole are often grouped into three categories:
The Sacraments of Initiation:
The Sacraments of Healing:
Reconciliation or Penance
Anointing of the Sick
The Sacraments of Vocation:
“This order, while not the only one possible, does allow one to see that the sacraments form an organic whole in which each particular sacrament has its own vital place. In this organic whole, the Eucharist occupies a unique place as the ‘Sacrament of sacraments’: ‘all the other sacraments are ordered to it as to their end’.” Catechism of Catholic Church #1211