Praying with the Sacraments
What is praying with the Sacraments?
One of the greatest gifts we can 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 are a way for us to find the signs of invisible realities. Through them, we encounter God and receive His grace.
How do I pray?
Witness a sacrament
- All around the world and at all times, 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 a 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 to witness a loved one receiving the anointing of the sick. This is an intimate invitation into prayer. Notice what you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. Think about how you feel. What is God revealing to you?
Attend Mass and receive the Eucharist
- The Eucharist is the source and summit of all Christian life. All the sacraments point us back toward the Eucharist, in which the bread and wine become the true body and blood of Christ. Receiving the Eucharist draws us into intimate union with Christ, wipes away our 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 towards. Consider what you can 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 to simply wash away our sins; it is an intimate encounter with God’s mercy through a holy sacrament. By opening ourselves up and receiving these graces, we are invited in turn to extend God’s mercy to others as well.
- Prepare for the sacrament by performing an examination of conscience, a deep look at your own failings and where you need God’s mercy the most. Confess your sins with humility and a spirit of contrition, and perform your penance in gratitude for God’s mercy.