What is a sacrament?
"A sacrament is a visible sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace." Through these signs God is present to us and we are able to respond to God.
Sacraments are “powers that come forth” from the body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are “the masterworks of God” in the new and everlasting covenant. (CCC 1116)
Through his words and deeds, Jesus personally established seven sacraments by which we enter into and renew our covenantal relationship with God the Father. Sacraments are visible, concrete signs of God's loving realtionship with us and his empowerment in transforming our lives.
Each of the seven sacraments touches various stages and important moments of natural life and Christian life:
they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiriutal life. (CCC 1210)
Sacraments are gifts to us from God.
They are symbols of something sacred.
Through the sacraments we receive grace. Grace is a gratuitous gift. It is an active expression of God's love for us, a share in the very life of God.
The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify us, to build up the BOdy of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. BEcause they are signs they also instruct. THey not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish,s trengthen, and express it. That is why they are called "sacrements of faith". (Sacrosanctum concilium 59) (1123)
CCC - The Catechism of the Catholic Church