Christ instituted the sacraments of the Church. The seven sacraments are broken down into three groupings; namely, the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, the Eucharist, Confirmation), the sacraments of healing (Penance, Anointing of the Sick) and the sacraments of service (Holy Orders, Matrimony).
The sacraments of Christian initiation lay the foundation of every Christian life (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1212). Pope Paul VI wrote in 1971, that “the sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development and nourishment of natural life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity”.
Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life “in earthen vessels”. We are still subject to suffering, illness and death. This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin. The Lord Jesus Christ, healer and physician of our souls and bodies has willed that his Church continue his work of health and salvation through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 1420 and 1421).
The two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; it is through service to others that they do so.