Anointing of the Sick
“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 exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.”(ccc1499)
God saved the world through His cross and resurrection. So suffering is at the heart of overcoming evil. It is a mystery, but somehow, suffering offered up in union with Christ, is salvific.
Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping the person discern in their life what is not essential so that they can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to Him.
Sickness and sin are linked in some way. Not that those who suffer necessarily do so because they have sinned, but clearly, if Christ suffered for sin and often linked healing with conversion of the heart, there is a mysterious link. This is only fully understood by God. He, through his Church, gives healing for sin and for sickness. The Sacrament of the Sick expressed this clearly in the words used.
We read in the letter of St James about this sacrament.
“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.” Jas 5:14-15.
So it is a priest who anoints.
The Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for them to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.
The Church is very liberal in this and recommends that, for example, the elderly can be anointed monthly and people, who may look healthy but who may have a serious condition can be anointed. This includes children over the use of reason.
The sacrament forgives sins. This may help in the healing process by calming the sufferer.
However the sacrament is not first and foremost a healing service. Nor is it a charismatic laying on of hands.
This is the official sacrament of the Church. The sure work of Christ.
Please let the priest know if anyone is sick or housebound. He and Lay Ministers take Holy Communion out each week, but we often do not know until the person gets better or otherwise.
We hold an Anointing of the Sick Mass, See Priest for details.