Last night in RCIA and Adult Confirmation, Fr. Will taught about Sacraments of Healing – Anointing of the Sick, and Reconciliation, which you can read about here. These two sacraments assist us in the Christian life when we are subject to suffering, illness and death, which comes both spiritually and physically. It is through the Church that we receive the healing touch of the Divine Physician. Through his Priests, the lay faithful receive the sacred anointing of the sick. The Church offers up these individuals through prayer in order that Christ himself will save them. The Church seeks to unite herself with those suffering in illness, so together they may experience the Passion and death of Christ.
Most Catholic parishes have someone, either a Deacon, Religious Sister, or a layperson that oversees Pastoral Care. Pastoral Care at my parish cares for the sick, homebound, and dying as well as brings the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist to those who can’t attend Mass, both during the week and on Sundays. It is a beautiful ministry of the Church.
For today’s second QLC, let’s read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say on this second Sacrament of Healing –
“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (Jas 5:14-15). [#1526]
The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has as its purpose the conferral of a special grace on the Christian experiencing the difficulties inherent in the condition of grave illness or old age. [#1527]
The proper time for receiving this holy anointing has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age. [#1528]
Each time a Christian falls seriously ill, he may receive the Anointing of the Sick, and also when, after he has received it, the illness worsens. [#1529]
Only priests (presbyters and bishops) can give the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, using oil blessed by the bishop, or if necessary by the celebrating presbyter himself. [#1530]
The celebration of the Anointing of the Sick consists essentially in the anointing of the forehead and hands of the sick person (in the Roman Rite) or of other parts of the body (in the Eastern rite), the anointing being accompanied by the liturgical prayer of the celebrant asking for the special grace of this sacrament. [#1531]
The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:
– the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church;
– the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age;
– the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance;
– the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
– the preparation for passing over to eternal life. [#1532]
To understand this sacrament completely, I highly suggest also reading paragraphs 1500-1531 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I would also suggest reading my explanation on the sacred oils used for this sacrament as well as Baptism and Confirmation.
This day, pray that more people will come forward to serve the sick, homebound, and dying in our parishes. As our Coordinator of Pastoral Care said last night at RCIA and Adult Confirmation, the parish ministry has 75 volunteers but in reality we need 175 volunteers. For us, the need is great and will only grow as our parish grows.