The Holy Annointing

"But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you."
1 John 2:27.
 The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1499 states: "By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she [the Church] exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ." [quoting from Lumen Gentium, Vatican II.]

Anointing of the Sick: Serves to strengthen those who are being tried by illness or advanced age. The sacrament, though long relegated to the moments prior to death, always sought also the recovery of the anointed person, according to God's will. We understand the notion of being in danger of death in a much more liberal but realistic manner than might have been the case 50 years ago. The reception of the sacrament presumes that the individual is already baptized and at least seven years of age, that is, having achieved the age of reason. Generally one would not anoint a child below seven years of age.

The Sign: The laying on of hands by a priest or bishop, and anointing with blessed oil. The oil must come from olive or another plant. Normally the oil is blessed by the bishop at the yearly Chrism Mass, but may also be blessed by any priest for a given ceremony.

Instituted by Christ: Found in all the many cures enacted by Christ in the Gospels. Laying on of hands, or some other touch was common in healing/miracle stories. The apostolic recommendation is most clearly found in the Letter of James [James 5: 13-15.]

To give Grace: Spiritual wellness, forgiveness of sins, and the possibility of physical healing. One receives the particular gift of the Holy Spirit; one's suffering is united to that of Christ; one receives the grace conferred by the prayer of the Church; it confers spiritual strength and courage; and it prepares one for the final journey ... death.



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church