Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ for our sanctification. Outward signs are the physical signs and actions exercised during the administration of a Sacrament. Human beings are embodied creatures, and for such reason, they can touch, taste and hear sound. They express their faith in terms of physical signs and actions (i.e, touching, tasting and hearing). For instance, the outward sign of the Sacrament of Baptism is pouring water over the head of the candidate and saying at the same time, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” By inward grace, we mean the love of God being experienced by the candidate through a Sacrament. As we experience each Sacrament, we experience God’s love, which is our sanctification.
Sacramentals are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the Sacraments. This means that Sacramentals are also outward signs as the Sacraments, and are means by which we entrust our lives to God and seek His providence. The purpose of Sacramentals is to focus the devotion of the faithful. Sacramentals include blessings, incense, pilgrimages, the sign of the cross, holy images and statues, rosaries and other actions and objects.
The Catholic Church recognises seven Sacraments,
Click the links below to learn more about these Sacraments.