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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The sacraments are not just symbols or signs but continue the action of God. Aquinas defines sacraments as “sensible signs of invisible things whereby man is made holy.” Sacramental events differ from other “uplifting” events in that they unite us to Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. The Vatican II documents define the church as a sacrament: it is Christ’s mystical body. Extreme unction is an encounter with Christ the healer. All Christians are “God-worshippers” and thus “priests”; those who receive holy orders can represent Christ to others. Penance is a jurisdictional act effected by a priest: it eliminates sin rather than giving a specific grace. Baptism re-enacts the death and resurrection of Christ, making the baptized a member of his body. Aquinas rightly argues that the Eucharist is the greatest sacrament, because, whereas Christ works through the other sacraments, the Eucharistic sacrament is “Christ himself substantially.”

Keywords: Trinity, sacraments, Eucharist, matrimony, nuptial, confession, unction, priest, sacrifice, Mass, baptism, Aquinas, von Speyr, grace, holy orders, penance, confirmation

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