From the moment that a sacrament is celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church, the power of Christ and his Spirit acts in and through it, independently of the personal holiness of the minister. Nevertheless, the fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them. 1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.5’ ‘Sacramental grace’ is 2003 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 sacramen- 460 tal life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature52 by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Saviour.


The Sacraments of Eternal Life

1130 The Church celebrates the mystery of her Lord ‘until he comes’, when God will be ‘everything to everyone’.53 Since the apostolic age the liturgy has been drawn toward its goal by the Spirit’s groaning in the Church: Marana tha!54 The liturgy thus 2817 shares in Jesus’ desire: ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you... until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’55 In the sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of ~5o her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while ‘awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus’.~6 The ‘Spirit and the Bride say, “Come... Come, Lord Jesus!” ~ St Thomas sums up the various aspects of sacramental signs: ‘Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it — Christ’s Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ’s Passion — grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us — future glory.’~8


1131 The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them

with the required dispositions.