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Catholics believe that God can be encountered not only though the scriptures and through his creation, but also through certain ritual actions called sacraments. The catechism of the Catholic Church defines sacrament as “an outward sign, instituted by Jesus Christ to give grace.” Christ gave his followers supernatural gifts which can be experienced both spiritually and physically.
Because people experience the world through the five senses, they need to see, hear, and touch the material world in order to experience the spiritual world. Each sacrament uses a physical sign, a ritual, in order to bestow a spiritual blessing. In this manner, the one receiving the sacrament can experience the spiritual gift through their physical senses.
Sacraments are no ordinary celebrations. They are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence. It is important for people to be in touch with what the sacraments celebrate if the rituals are to be as meaningful as possible for them.