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168 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

prayer life of the Church, while the term


refers to a particular

celebration of Christ’s salvific work.


The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around

the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments.

—CCC, no. 1113

As we come to understand the Sacraments, it is important to recognize

that the Sacraments have a visible and invisible reality, a reality open to

all the human senses but grasped in its God-given depths with the eyes

of faith. When parents hug their children, for example, the visible reality

we see is the hug. The invisible reality the hug conveys is love. We can-

not “see” the love the hug expresses, though sometimes we can see its

nurturing effect in the child.

The visible reality we see in the Sacraments is their outward expres-

sion, the form they take, and the way in which they are administered

and received. The invisible reality we cannot “see” is God’s grace, his

gracious initiative in redeeming us through the death and Resurrection

of his Son. His initiative is called


because it is the free and loving

gift by which he offers people a share in his life, and shows us his favor

and will for our salvation. Our response to the grace of God’s initiative

is itself a grace or gift from God by which we can imitate Christ in our

daily lives.

The saving words and deeds of Jesus Christ are the foundation of

what he would communicate in the Sacraments through the ministers

of the Church. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church recognizes the

existence of Seven Sacraments instituted by the Lord. They are grouped

together in the following way:

• Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation, as

it is called in the Eastern Churches), and Eucharist

• Sacraments of Healing: Penance and Reconciliation and Anointing

of the Sick