Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification.
The Latin word sacramentum means “a sign of the sacred.” The seven sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God’s saving presence. That’s what theologians mean when they say that sacraments are at the same time signs and instruments of God’s grace.
If you learn more about the sacraments, you can celebrate them more fully. To learn more about the individual sacraments, please follow the links provided.
In every sacrament three things are necessary: the outward sign; the inward grace; Divine institution. A sign stands for and represents something else, either naturally, as smoke represents fire, or by the choice of an intelligent being, as the red cross indicates an ambulance. Sacraments do not naturally signify grace; they do so because they have been chosen by God to signify mysterious effects. Yet they are not altogether arbitrary, because in some cases, if not in all, the ceremonies performed have a quasi-natural connection with the effect to be produced. Thus, pouring water on the head of a child readily brings to mind the interior purification of the soul.