Liturgical Tips

The Sacraments and the Sacramentals

The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the body of Christ, and, finally, to give worship to God; because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and ex­press it; that is why they are called "sacraments of faith." They do indeed impart grace, but, in addition, the very act of celebrating them most effectively disposes the faithful to receive this grace in a fruitful manner, to worship God duly, and to practice charity.

It is therefore of the highest importance that the faithful should easily understand the sacramental signs, and should frequent with great eagerness those sacraments which were instituted to nourish the Christian life.

Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments: they signify effects, particularly of a spiri­tual kind, which are obtained through the Church's intercession. By them men are dis­posed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are ren­dered holy.

-Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium #59-60