Anointing of the Sick
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
Above all, the ministry of Jesus was a ministry of reconciliation and healing. Jesus came to bring the Peace (shalom) of God to everyone, a peace that would heal the body, mind, soul; in short, the whole person. He urged sinners to repent and reconcile their relationship with God and their neighbor. He prayed and laid hands on people to heal them. Jesus made a special ointment and healed a blind man. St. James tells us, "is anyone sick among you, let them call for the priest of the church, and the priest will pray for them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick persons, and the Lord will raise them up. If they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them."
Jesus lived a ministry of healing, and commanded his apostles and disciples to do the same. It is by his command and power that we pray for healing in people's lives. This Sacrament first and foremost brings the healing of peace in a person's spirit...strengthening them to accept God's will for their life. Sometimes this healing also overflows into the body, or mind of a person. God may choose to heal them completely, or God may ask them to unite their suffering to the suffering of Jesus on the cross, and offer that suffering for the salvation of souls.
If a member of your family is seriously ill, contact the rectory promptly so the Priest may administer the Sacraments of the Sick.
Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick Basics
The sign of anointing here expresses healing and consolation. Anointing strengthens the spirit of someone who is suffering, but it also commends them to Christ, “that He may raise them up and save them.” This anointing extends Christ’s healing touch (CCC 1504). [In the scriptures we see Christ heal people in many ways; sometimes spiritually through forgiveness of sins and peace with God, sometimes emotionally or psychologically.] Sometimes it brings about a physical cure or relief of symptoms. [This sacrament always brings about the forgiveness of sins and puts the person at peace in communion with God]. The sacrament always heals in the way Christ intends. Most times it heals by empowering the sick to suffer like Christ. Anointed, we are “other christs”; and we must never forget that Christ Himself suffered and died. Scripture tells us that the perfect Man – who, like a pioneer, blazed our trail to salvation – was made “perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:10). In our suffering, Christ draws us closer to Himself in His sufferings on the cross. And we are made perfect! “My grace is sufficient for you,” He told St. Paul. “My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Like St. Paul, the anointed Christian can say: “I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body the Church (Col. 1:24). Our suffering works as reparation for our own sins, and like Christ’s, for the salvation of other members of God’s family.
In most of the world and through much of history, healing has been a family affair. The family tends to its sick members, treats them, feeds them, administers the medicines, and applies the ointments. In most of the world and through much of history, people died at home, in their beds. Their families prepared their bodies for burial by anointing.
By sacramental anointing, the Church heals us and prepares us for the ultimate healing of our bodies at the resurrection.
St. James gives us the Bible’s most explicit and eloquent record of this sacrament: “Are there any among you who are sick? Let them call for the priests of the Church, and let the priest pray over them anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise them up; if they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them” (James 5:14-15). The priests are the ordinary ministers of the rite, which consists of anointing the sick person with oil blessed by the bishop.
This sacrament is often administered along with penance and the Eucharist, especially for those who are gravely ill or dying. The Catechism (n. 1525) compares these 3 sacraments to the sacraments of initiation. As we come into God’s earthly home by the power of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist, so we proceed to His heavenly home by the power of anointing, reconciliation & penance, and Eucharist, collectively called the “last rites” or the “last sacraments.” (From Scott Hahn's Book, Swear to God)