Friday, March 24, 2006

Back to Basics: The Seven Sacraments

You know, I never thought of this correspondence, but it does make sense.
Why do Catholics have seven sacraments? Why not more or less? The easy answer is that Jesus instituted all seven. In the 13th century, however, philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out that seven stages of human development occur in the realm of nature, so it makes sense that God created the sacraments to correspond with each of those events. It's not that God had to make seven sacraments, Aquinas said, but it's reasonable to have seven:
  • We are born: Baptism

  • We are fed: Holy Eucharist

  • We grow: Confirmation

  • We need healing: Penance

  • We recover: Anointing of the Sick

  • We need family: Matrimony

  • We need leaders: Holy Orders
Catholicism for Dummies by John Trigilio

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