The Sacraments are at the very heart of the Catholic Church. We are called to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. That is totally impossible to achieve by our own efforts; the only way we can make progress in that direction is with the help of God.
God helps us by sending the Holy Spirit to dwell within us; to the extend that we welcome the Spirit, so its fruits (love, peace , joy, kindness…) are produced in us and incline us still further to the doing of God’s will. He helps us by means of His word, which we learn to apply to all the circumstances of our life, and he helps us by means of the sacraments.
There are seven of them (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Ordination to the Priesthood, Marriage and Anointing of the Sick). Each of them carries the guarantee of God’s grace, God’s help, in a particular aspect of our life’s journey and each of them is given to us because we need them. God gives them to us because He loves us and desires to draw us to him.
To suggest that we do not need marriage or confession or one of the others is to suggest that God got it wrong when He decided we needed His help. It follows that we in the Church take the sacraments – and preparation for them – extremely seriously. We have no desire to deny them to anyone who genuinely seeks them and who can be legally admitted to them, but we cannot change them into something they are not or undermine their significance and importance.
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