According to the Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer, sacraments are "outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace." At St. Matthew's Church, we celebrate seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Marriage, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Orders.

These sacraments are called sacraments of the living because they give more grace to souls already alive through grace.

Through the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we are prompted to see in Jesus the meaning and goal of our life, and to commit our lives to him. The transforming work of the Holy Spirit unites us with Jesus Christ through the sacraments …

• Baptism … celebrates the creation of new life in the Holy Spirit

• Confirmation … celebrates the presence of the living Holy Spirit within us

• Eucharist … unites us with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and is a sign of God’s continued presence to nurture and continually form us in his likeness

• Marriage … empowers us through the Holy Spirit to share the unconditional love modeled by Christ and to live in an intimate relationship with God as an active partner

• Reconciliation … brings renewal through the healing action of the Spirit in our lives in helping us to become more fully human and so be effective in reflecting Christ and his words of life and love to others

• Anointing of the Sick … releases in us the saving presence of the Holy Spirit who brings healing and peace for the body, mind and soul and

• Holy Orders … confers grace and spiritual power upon priests and bishops as they are ordained and receive the power to perform their sacred duties. Our first invitation to become a member of God's family was accepted at our Baptism and confirmed by us at our Confirmation. We have had the life of Christ within us strengthened continually through Holy Communion and many of us have received special help in living our vocations in Marriage or Holy Orders. When we have turned away from God, grown weak, careless and unloving, we have been continually welcomed back to our heavenly Father's family through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In old age or sickness we have been healed from any spiritual ill and, sometimes, healed physically if this would be of benefit to us spiritually, by the Anointing of the Sick. The Scriptures speak of death as a new birth when we break out of the womb and enter a new creation. Through our death, we are Reborn in the Spirit.

The Prodigal God
A Story Of Two Brothers
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