Blog 11 Sacrament of anointing of the Sick from Catechism Par 1506-1510 Heal the Sick

“Heal the sick . . .”

1506 Christ invites his disciples to follow him by taking up their cross in their turn..114 By following him they acquire a new outlook on illness and the sick. Jesus associates them with his own life of poverty and service. He makes them share in his ministry of compassion and healing: “So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.”.115

1507 The risen Lord renews this mission (“In my name . . . they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”116) and confirms it through the signs that the Church performs by invoking his name.117 These signs demonstrate in a special way that Jesus is truly “God who saves.”118

1508 The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing119 so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord. But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses. Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his Body, that is, the Church.”120

1509 “Heal the sick!”121 The Church has received this charge from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick as well as by accompanying them with her prayer of intercession. She believes in the life-giving presence of Christ, the physician of souls and bodies. This presence is particularly active through the sacraments, and in an altogether special way through the Eucharist, the bread that gives eternal life and that St. Paul suggests is connected with bodily health.122

1510 However, the apostolic Church has its own rite for the sick, attested to by St. James: “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders [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.”123 Tradition has recognized in this rite one of the seven sacraments.124

The Sacrament of Anointing of the sick is meant to carry on the healing ministry of Jesus. As the catechism says ”  He makes them share in his ministry of compassion and healing: “So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.”

Jordam Aumann OP in his book ‘Spiritual Theology’ writes ” The Catholic Church professes and teaches that the sacred anointing of the sick is one of the seven sacraments of the New Testament, that it was instituted by Christ that it is alluded to in Mark 6:13 and recommended and promulgated by the faithful by James the Apostle and brother of the Lord. ‘If any one of you is ill.’ he says, ‘he should send for the elders of the Church, and they must anoint him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.'” (James 5;14-15)

“Extreme unction, which may also and more fittingly be called ‘anointing of the sick’ is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as any one of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the appropriate time for him to receive the sacrament has certainly already arrived. The reform of the sacrament of anointing reflects at once a return to the original Christian practice (there is  no mention of death in the Epistle of St James) and also a more maternal concern of the Church for those who are seriously ill or incapacitated by old age.”

We read in the introduction to the Rite for Anointing of the Sick ” This sacrament gives the grace of the Holy Spirit to those who are sick: by this grace the whole person is helped and saved, sustained by trust in God, and strengthened against the temptations of the Evil One and against anxiety over death. Thus the sick person is able not only to bear suffering bravely, but also to fight against it. A return to physical health may follow the reception of this sacrament if it will be beneficial to the sick persons’s salvation. If necessary, the sacrament also provides the sick person with the forgiveness of sins and the completion of Christian penance.”

The Sacrament of the Sick is primarily about Healing. Even when you anoint a person who is about to die the soul is healed strengthen from the effects of sin. As St Thomas said, Baptism forgives sins. Penance forgives sins. The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick isn’t oriented towards the forgiveness of sins, but healing the effects of sins. We see this though of St Thomas in the last line of the above paragraph ” If necessary, the sacrament also provides the sick sick person with the forgiveness of sins and the completion of Christian penance.” We read in ‘Rediscovering Aquinas and the Sacrament ‘ “The Anointing of the Sick has, therefore, been provided for humanity such that the healing begun in Penance and Reconciliation might be completed and that humanity might be freed form temporal punishment due to sin. All this ordered to this end: that nothing should remain in man that might impede the soul in coming to perceive the glory of God upon leaving the body.”

The Sacrament of Anointing is summed up in one word ‘Healing.’ Healing of the Body or Soul. Healing of the Whole Person.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you Father Stefan for helping us to understand this beautiful Sacrament of the Annointing of the sick. God bless you for always guiding us to the Lord. Peggy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s