Recently, I had to go to the doctor for a bad case of bronchitis. He prescribed antibiotics known as a “Z-Pak.” The great thing about a Z-Pak is that you only have to take the meds for five days, yet they keep working in your system for another five days. I think this is a good metaphor for how the sacraments work.
The year or so after my divorce was a very challenging time. I struggled mightily to live a chaste life. At times I failed miserably. Yet, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I never strayed far from the sacraments. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that, on any given week, reconciliation vied with the Eucharist as my most received sacrament! I am not proud of that, but what I am so thankful for was the sacramental grace that kept drawing me back to Christ, no matter how far I strayed. The sacraments are like that Z-Pak, giving me the enduring graces I need to strengthen and heal me. My stupidity could not stop their power. This is why, not matter how sinful you might be, it is essential to keep seeking out the sacraments. They give you the grace of the Holy Spirit to heal and transform your life. This is exactly the power you need when you are weakened by sin. If you have committed mortal sin, seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation to restore you to a state of grace. Then, receive the Eucharist as often as you can to keep you there.
The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. “Sacramental grace” is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior. – Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1129