Using the Sacraments

Baptism

This is the first sacrament we receive after developing faith in Christ. It unites us to him for the first time, thereby making us love God above all things for his own sake. God forgives our sins and makes us holy.

1. Read the Gospels.
2. Read the Catechism.
3. Study what the Church teaches.
4. Take an RCIA class.
5. Pray for faith.
6. Be sure that you understand the sacrament.
7. Receive the sacrament.

Reconciliation

Whenever we commit a mortal sin, the love that we have for God, infused in us at our baptism, is destroyed in our souls. Going to confession restores it. This sacrament is a bit like a baptism do-over. God forgives our sins and makes us holy by once again uniting us to Christ.

2. Compile a list of the sins you committed, including how many times each was committed.
3. Resolve to reject sin in the future.
4. Consider how you will act differently in the future.
5. Ask God to help you make a good confession.
6. Enter the confessional, and say “forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been _____ days since my list confession.”
7. Tell your sins to the priest. Remember you are really talking to Christ.
8. Once finished, say “I am sorry for these sins, and any I may have forgotten.”
9. Listen to what the priest tells you, and when he asks, recite the Act of Contrition.
10. Listen to the penance the priest gives you, and after he absolves your sins, leave the confessional and pray in the Church. Thank Jesus for his mercy.

Eucharist

This is the greatest of all the sacraments. When receiving Communion, we bring Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity into ourselves, so that he might live in us and we might love God with even greater fervor.

1. Fast from all food and all beverages except water for at least one hour, (but consider doing it longer than an hour).
2. Arrive at the Church early and pray in the pew so that you’re focused.
3. When the mass starts, be attentive, and don’t let yourself get distracted (the Devil will try to distract you).
4. Listen to the readings and consider how the Word you are hearing has been made flesh and is coming to you through the Eucharist.
5. As the mass progresses, speak to God in your heart, and lay your petitions on the altar.
6. Ask Christ to make you holy through the sacrament. Ask him to prepare your heart to receive him. Ask him to forgive all your sins. Pray the prayers of the mass, paying close attention to the congregation’s responses.
7. At the consecration and concluding doxology (the “Amen”) be extra attentive and offer your petitions to God in union with Christ’s sacrifice.
8. Reverently and prayerfully proceed to receive Communion.
9. Make a bow as the person ahead of you receives.
10. Approach the priest and respond “amen” when he says “the body of Christ.”
11. Open your mouth, and let the priest place the host on your tongue.
12. There is no need to cross yourself at this point (although you may). Return to your pew in prayer and kneel.
13. Pray fervently, now in thanksgiving and praise to God.
14. Speak to Jesus in your heart. There is no better time to pray than directly after receiving the Eucharist. It is a time of special grace. These short minutes can truly save your soul and make you a great saint.
15. Do not leave church before the recessional hymn has ended. It is a good idea to kneel and pray for a little while longer after the hymn. The Anima Christi is especially appropriate and powerful at this time.

Confirmation

This sacrament is like the second degree of Baptism. By it, God strengthens the love we have for him by sealing the recipient in Christ and pouring out the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon him.

Marriage

When two baptized people are married, they are brought closer to Christ, and God gives them the grace to love him and one another with even greater strength than before. This grace helps the man and woman do their work well, especially raising children guiding one another to heaven.

Holy Orders

Through this sacrament, God gives men the grace to act in the person of Christ. He gives them authority to represent the Church, forgive sins, and administer sacraments.

Anointing of the Sick

All suffering can be united to Christ’s suffering on the cross and thus be fruitful. This sacrament gives a suffering person the grace to more fully unite their suffering, and even their death, to Jesus’ saving act of love.