Anointing of the Sick
The Sacraments of Healing
“Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
"Sing praise to the LORD, you faithful; give thanks to his holy memory. For his anger lasts but a moment; his favor a lifetime. At dusk weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.... You changed my mourning into dancing; you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.So that my glory may praise you and not be silent.O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks."
- Psalms 30
In the Church's Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.
The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient.
When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God's will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit's gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.
Who should receive this Sacrament?
"The Anointing of the Sick 'is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived." (CCC 1514). Here it is good to note that this sacrament should be used for anyone facing serious illness: not just those in danger of imminent death.
"If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again." (CCC 1515). The Anointing of the Sick may be received multiple times during the course of one’s life; not just at the time of imminent death.
"If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated" (CCC 1515). An example of this might be if a person were to receive the sacrament prior to a serious operation and then take a sudden turn for the worse after the operation. In this case, the sacrament could again be received.
"The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced" (CCC 1515). Here again the sacrament is offered to those who have received it before, but who stand in need of the healing of Christ.
Why should I ask for this Sacrament?
The Roman Catholic Church identifies three sacraments instituted by Jesus as sacraments which promote the healing of mind, body, and souls of the faithful. These are the sacraments of Penance or Reconciliation, Eucharist, and the Anointing of the Sick.
Another sacrament of Healing assists us in reaching this point of openness to God’s grace. The Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation washes us clean of our sin, preparing our whole selves for the grace to be bestowed upon us through the anointing. The faithful infirm are encouraged to receive reconciliation as another fount of God’s grace. Sometimes it takes the gentle intervention and encouragement of a family member to suggest the reception of the sacraments.
"The faithful should encourage the sick to call for a priest to receive this sacrament. The sick should prepare themselves to receive it with good dispositions" (CCC 1516).
If you or a loved one is suffering from a serious illness or is near death please contact Father Gary right away and request the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.