What are Sacramentals
Sacramentals are objects, actions, or blessings that are believed to have a spiritual effect on the person who receives them. They are considered to be sacred objects that can be used to bless individuals or objects, and to provide spiritual protection or other benefits. Some common examples of sacramentals include holy water, the rosary, and the sign of the cross.
In the Catholic Church, sacramentals are used to prepare the faithful to receive the grace of the sacraments, and to help them grow in holiness. They are not considered to be sacraments themselves, but they are believed to have a spiritual power that is derived from the prayers and blessings of the Church.
There are several sacramentals in the Catholic Church, each with its own purpose and promise. Some of the more common sacramentals and their promises are:
- The Sign of the Cross: This is a simple gesture in which the faithful trace the shape of a cross on their forehead, chest, and shoulders while saying the words “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The promise of this sacramental is the protection and guidance of the Holy Trinity.
- Holy water: This is water that has been blessed by a priest and is used to bless oneself, objects, or places. The promise of this sacramental is the purification and protection from evil.
- The Rosary: This is a prayer in which the faithful recite specific prayers, called “Hail Marys” and “Our Fathers,” while meditating on the life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. The promise of this sacramental is the spiritual growth and protection from temptation and sin.
- The Crucifix: This is a cross with the figure of Jesus crucified on it. The promise of this sacramental is the reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice and the opportunity to participate in it through our own suffering.
- The Stole: This is a long, narrow strip of cloth worn by a priest around the neck during Mass and other liturgical celebrations. The promise of this sacramental is the priest’s authority to celebrate the sacraments and the protection of the Church’s teachings.
- The Holy Oil: This is oil that has been blessed by a bishop and is used in several sacraments, such as Baptism, Confirmation, and the Anointing of the Sick. The promise of this sacramental is the strengthening of the recipient’s faith and the presence of the Holy Spirit.