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|St. Thomas Aquinas|
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The seven sacraments in general
The seven Sacraments have some things which they all hold in common, and
Sacraments is that they confer grace. It is also common to all the
Sacraments that a Sacrament is made up of words and physical acts. And so
also Christ, who is the Author of the Sacraments, is the Word made flesh.
And just as the flesh of Christ was sanctified, and has the power of
sanctifying because of the Word united to itself, so also the Sacraments
are made holy and have the power of sanctifying through the words which
Sacraments are sanctified are called the form of the Sacraments; and the
things which are sanctified are called the matter of the Sacraments. Water,
these three requirements is lacking, the Sacrament is not brought into
unprepared to receive worthily. Such a one, although he actually receives
receive sacramentally, yet who receive the effect of the Sacrament because
in a vow.
There are some things which are characteristic of each individual
spiritual sign distinct from the other Sacraments. Such are the Sacraments
of Orders, Baptism, and Confirmation. The Sacraments which give a character
has been confirmed receive Confirmation again; and one who has been
which each of these Sacraments impresses is indelible.
In the other Sacraments, however, a character is not impressed on the
frequently receive Penance, frequently receive the Eucharist, and can be
frequently consecrated, nor ought the oil of the sick be frequently
the 'sensible thing' which enters into the definition of a Sacrament as
already given, although constituting but one sign, is of a twofold nature.
immediately understand that the Sacrament possesses
dispenser of the Sacraments, He nevertheless willed that they should be
administered by men in His Church, not by Angels. The ministers of the
Sacraments, in performing their duties, do not act in their own persons but
always observed in the Catholic Church according to the institution of
Christ, and intend to do what the Church does in the administration of the
perform a sacred act, and distinguishes us by some mark one from another.
qualified to recieve the other Sacraments, and, secondly, by it the
Christian is distinguished from those who do not profess the faith" ("Roman
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