Praying with the Sacraments

What is praying with the Sacraments?

One of the greatest gifts we receive as Catholics is the grace of the sacraments.  There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony and Holy Orders.  We can experience them with our five senses: we see the couple exchanging rings, we hear the words of consecration, we touch the waters of Baptism, we smell the chrism, we taste the Body of Christ.  Sacraments offer us visible signs of invisible realities.  We encounter God and receive his grace by praying with the sacraments.

How do I do it?

Witness a sacrament

  • At all times and in all places, people are celebrating the sacraments.  Somewhere in the world right now, someone is being baptized, someone else is receiving communion, and perhaps a couple is marrying in the Church.
  • When we surround ourselves with people who are passionate about their Catholic faith, inevitably we will be granted the privilege of witnessing the sacraments.  You may be invited to celebrate a baby’s Baptism, a middle schooler’s Confirmation, the wedding of a friend, the ordination of a priest, or even the anointing of a sick loved one.  This is an invitation into prayer.  Notice what you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste.  Notice how you feel.  What is God revealing to you?

Attend Mass and receive the Eucharist

  • The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.  All the sacraments point us back toward the Eucharist, Christ Himself.  The bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ.  Receiving the Eucharist draws us into intimate union with Christ, wipes away venial sins, and commits us to serving the least among us.
  • As you prepare to receive the Eucharist, pray for God to open your heart to the reality of Christ’s presence in the sacrament.  After you receive, thank God for the graces you received and ask for God to reveal to you what He is calling you to do as an act of thanksgiving.

Receive the sacrament of Reconciliation

  • Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing.  By confessing our sins to the priest and saying an act of contrition, we receive forgiveness for our sins.  Pope Francis reminds us that Reconciliation is not like a car wash, simply washing away our sins; it is in fact a profound encounter with God’s mercy.  By opening ourselves up and receiving these graces, we too are invited to extend God’s mercy to others.
  • Prepare for the sacrament by performing an examination of conscience: a deep look at your own failings and where you need God’s mercy.  Confess your sins with humility and a spirit of contrition, and perform your penance in gratitude for God’s mercy.

Helpful Resources