Sorry if this has been asked before, but I did a quick search and didn’t find an answer. My question is, What is the purpose of the sacraments? I am a Catholic convert and I go to what some might consider a liberal Catholic church.My friend and I were talking and my friend said that the sacraments purpose is to allow us to overcome sin. I reply that it is true, but is not the main goal, which is to encounter Christ and have a relationship with Him. My friend accused me of not being an authentic Catholic. Just last Sunday, my priest said that Baptism is an invitation from God to a personal relationship for which we must respond. Was my priest wrong? Is there room in sacramental theology for both in that the Sacraments do allow us to overcome sin because we are changed by encountering Christ in them? I don’t want to go to a church that is not teaching me correctly.
The Sacraments are there to increase sanctifying grace in the soul.
“the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. “Sacramental grace” is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.”
Without grace in the soul, we cannot have a relationship with God. Sin, original and or mortal sin, means that we do not have the Divine Life within the soul, meaning that we are not that loving “spirit of adoption” with our Heavenly Father and Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through the worthy reception of the Sacraments and subsequent increase in grace, God can both cleanse us of our sins, and increase our virtues, these manifest themselves both in the avoidance and abhorrence of sin, and the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
If you are interested in learning about the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, may I recommend this free audiobook on the topic.
Welcome to CAF!
The short, two cent answer to the question “What is the purpose of the sacraments?” is “to give grace.”
Which then invites you to ponder the question “What is grace?” and “What kinds of grace?”
To find the answer to this question and many more, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)is a great resource. They have an entire section on the seven sacraments and each of the sacraments has several paragraphs dedicated to “the effects of the sacrament.” This is all in CCC 1210-1690.
You might then also look at the section on grace: CCC 1996-2005.
Hope this helps!
This is the correct answer.