That is, they sign and point to Jesus and effect what they sign; the out pouring of the Grace of Christ.
Christ came to fulfil the Old Covenant, not do away with it.
• using blessed oil for anointing,
• holy water for blessing,
• washing of hands with water to signify God's cleansing,
• lighting a blessed candle to signify Gods presence
This has been born out of many Old Testament traditions and the Law of Moses. Christ came to fulfil the Old Covenant, not do away with it.
In the general use of the word sacramentum [visible form of invisible grace], creation itself is sacramental because it points to God. God has left His signs all over it. We are also sacramental because we reflect and point to the Eternal Creator. We are living temples of the Holy Spirit. Just look at Mother Teresa.
There are other forms of this in the Church. They are also called sacramentals:
• a blessed crucifix or cross
• relics from Saints
They can all be used by the Lord to signify his grace, but they don't effect grace in the same way the Seven Sacraments. [read more here].
Obviously, one must have a sincere and contrite heart for the action of God's Grace to be as affective as it can be. This cause and effect of the Sacrament must always be accompanied by the interior disposition of the heart. It's not just a ritualistic formula but must be lived in a real and true way.
The Lord continues to see his creation is good, [i.e. not entirely corrupted] and uses it to bless his people. There is a harmony in God's understanding and the way in which he visits his people. The Lord builds on our Nature and pours out his Grace, i.e. Grace elevates Nature
He meets us in our humanity and reality, but raises our nature to a Divine Level in the Grace of Christ. He regenerates us through His Death and Resurrection.
This doesn't discount that he can use other means [special revelation] to show his presence too [and there have been many instances of this throughout the two thousand years of Christianity].
But for everyday life in the Church his presence is denoted by everyday created matter which signifies his Supernatural Grace being conferred behind the Sign [Sacrament] upon His children.
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