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God wants us to share His divine life with us. As St. Athanasius said, “God became man, so that man might become god.” Since, our human nature is broken due to sin God must give us the necessary means to accomplish this task. The sacraments, then, help us to become divine.
As humans we are body and soul, when God became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus instituted physical signs that we can experience in and through our bodies. These physical signs are the seven sacraments that He has given us. By these sacraments we can receive His grace and His divine life in our souls. Additionally, each of the seven sacraments has a physical and spiritual aspect, engaging our senses, giving life to our souls, and redeeming our bodies. Through the seven sacraments we enter into the family of God and participate in His divine life.
THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION
The Sacraments of initiation, Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, are what brings us into full communion with the Church. In the ritual for the Chaldean Catholic Church, Baptism and Confirmation are celebrated together during the same liturgy, while Holy Communion is delayed until the age of reason.
“The sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist – lay the foundations of every Christian life. ‘The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity.’” (CCC, 1212)
THE SACRAMENTS AT THE SERVICE OF COMMUNION
“Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are sacraments of Christian initiation. They ground the common vocation of all Christ’s disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world. They confer the graces needed for the life according to the Spirit during this life as pilgrims on the march towards the homeland. Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God. Through these sacraments those already consecrated by Baptism and Confirmation for the common priesthood of all the faithful can receive particular consecrations. Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ’s name ‘to feed the Church by the word and grace of God.’ On their part, ‘Christian spouses are fortified and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament.’” (CCC, 1533-1535)
THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING
“Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life ‘in earthen vessels,’ and it remains ‘hidden with Christ in God.’ We are still in our ‘earthly tent,’ subject to suffering, illness, and death.
This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin. The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members.
This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.” (CCC, 1420-1421)