Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders 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.James 5:14-15
What is the Sacrament of Anointing?
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is the Church’s sacrament for those who are sick and aging, and is a sacred moment when we pray for God’s grace to strengthen someone who is suffering from any form of illness. An anointing Mass is generally offered during the seasons of Lent and Easter. Arrangements can be made for a priest to come to your home if you are home bound or too ill to come to daily Mass.
The Sacrament of Anointing Strengthens the Faithful
Through the Sacrament of Anointing, Christ strengthens the faithful who are afflicted by illness, providing them with the strongest means of support. Jesus showed great concern for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the sick and commanded his followers to do the same. The celebration of this sacrament is an opportunity for the deepening of the faith of the community who are able to witness the faith and devotion of those being anointed.
Anointing is Not just for the Sick
This used to be called “Last Rites” or “Extreme Unction.” Anointing of the Sick is not necessarily meant to be received only at the end of life. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is perhaps the most misunderstood of all the Sacraments. Many remember the times when the Sacrament was reserved only for those who were dying. While our theology has not changed, our practice has.
When Should A Person be Anointed?
The Rite of Anointing indicates 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. The Sacrament may be repeated if the sick person recovers after the anointing but becomes ill once again, or if, during the same illness, the person’s condition becomes more serious. A person should be anointed before surgery when a dangerous illness is the reason for the intervention.
Parishioners who are seriously ill in any way should request the Sacrament of Annointing. The healing ministry of the Church follows that of Jesus and is concerned with the healing of the whole person— the body, mind, and spirit. Sometimes a person is cured of a bodily illness. Sometimes there is psychological or spiritual healing. What is certain is that the healing taking place strengthens a sick person and helps them to bear illness.
I need the Sacrament of Anointing!