The sacraments are a hallmark of Catholic life. The sacraments flow from Christ, who became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and who is himself the sacrament of God. Thomas Aquinas writes that we need the sacraments now in our lives on earth, because we are human beings who strive for understanding of the mystery of God and the beauty of the world through the tangible, visible, and audible things of this world. God uses God’s creation to communicate with God’s creation!
The sacraments “work” in that the Church believes Christ is truly present in and through them. However, after this life, Catholics believe that we will no longer need the sacraments because we will be with the glorified physical presence of Christ.
Since Christ himself is only tangible, visible, and audible in this world through symbols, the sacraments provide a unique and necessary window into our lives which are to be lived in God.
As you’ll see on this page, there is sometimes a different way to come to the sacraments, or a different order in which some of them may be celebrated. Christ is present to us in every moment of our lives, particularly those significant moments transformed by the special presence of Christ in the sacraments.
© 2011 Diocese of Des Moines