What are Sacraments?
In this age of the Church, Christ Jesus now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments, i.e. Christ Jesus manifests, makes present, and communicates His work of salvation. (CCC 1076) Christ Himself is at work: it is He who baptizes, He who acts in His sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies. (CCC 1127)
Indeed, Sacraments are “powers that comes forth” from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in His Body, the Church. (CCC 1116) It follows that “the sacrament is not wrought by the righteousness of either the celebrant or the recipient, but by the power of God.” Nevertheless, the fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them. (CCC 1128)
The Sacraments are “of the Church” in the double sense that they are “by her” and “for her.” They are “by the Church,” for she is the sacrament of Christ’s action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are “for the Church” in the sense that “the sacraments make the Church,” since they manifest and communicate to all faithful, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons. (CCC 1118)
The purpose of the Sacraments is to sanctify the faithful, to build up the Body of Christ, and to give worship to God. Because, they are signs and they also instruct. (CCC 1123) They are necessary for salvation. (CCC 1129) Truly, in the sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus.”