Anointing of the Sick 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 5:14-15T HROUGHOUT JESUS’ PUBLIC MINISTRY, he healed we receive Jesus himself, the Healer. In addition to the sick both physically and spiritually (see Mt these sacraments, Jesus also gave the Church the 4:24; Mk 1:32; Lk 4:40; Jn 6:2). For example, Anointing of the Sick (see Jas 5:14-15). when Jesus healed the paralyzed man, he said,“Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven,... Rise, take up Who can receive the Anointing of the Sick?your bed, and go home” (Mt 9:2, 6). Jesus commanded This sacrament may be received by anyone whothe Twelve to “[h]eal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lep- has a chronic, serious illness, by anyone preparingers, [and] cast out demons” (Mt 10:8; see also Lk 10:9), for a major surgery, or by anyone in danger of death.and he gave them the authority “to heal every disease The sacrament may be repeated every time a personand every inﬁrmity” (Mt 10:1). The Twelve did as Je- becomes seriously ill or when their condition wors-sus commanded and then passed on this authority to ens. Those experiencing the debilitations of old agetheir successors, who are the bishops (see Mk 6:12- also may receive it. Finally, Anointing of the Sick13; Acts 5:15-16). In this way, the Church received is intended for those who are “at the hour of theirthe mission and authority to heal every disease and death,” because, along with Reconciliation and Viat-every inﬁrmity from Jesus himself, which she carries icum, Anointing of the Sick is one of the sacramentsout primarily through the sacraments. that prepare us for our Heavenly home. Now sickness, especially when it is prolonged orlife-threatening, can give someone the reason to take Rite of Anointing of the Sicktime to pray and think about the meaning of life. Sick- Although some people have received the charism —ness, one of the consequences of the sin of a special gift from the Holy Spirit given for the sake ofour ﬁrst parents, remains a part of our the good of the Church — of healing, only bishops andearthly existence even after Bap- priests may confer the sacrament of the Anointing of thetism. God sometimes Sick (see 1 Cor 12:9, 28, 30; Jas 5:14-15). They aloneeven uses it as an instru- can act in persona Christi (“in the person of Christ”),ment of love and mercy. conferring sacramental grace that even a person withNevertheless, God’s will a charism to heal cannot impart. Those desiring to beis that ﬁnally all sickness will be anointed should love God, hate sin, trust in the mer-healed. Most of the time, the its of Jesus, and believe in the assistance of the saints.body is able to heal (regainits strength and life) throughvarious remedies, doctors, and A sick-call cruciﬁx is a part of manypreventive medicine. Like the Catholic homes, intended to provide appropriate items needed during a visitbody, the soul also is in need from a priest to a sick family memberof healing. This healingis primarily accom-plished through thesacraments. In Baptism, we are PHYrestored to life by the washing away of OTOGRAsin and union with Christ. In Reconcilia- ARLES PHtion, sins are forgiven and the effects of sin arehealed. The Eucharist especially heals us because DAVID CH The Association for Catechumenal Ministry (ACM) grants the original purchaser (parish, local parochial institution, or individual) permission to reproduce this handout.
This is called a good dis-position. Even though “Those who are anointed can be joined with oil many that were sick and healed them”the sacrament may be more closely to the suffering (Mk 6:13). The priestcelebrated at bedsides anoints both the fore-in private homes, hos- and death of Christ.” head and the hands ofpitals, or other institu- the sick person, but hetions, efforts should be may also anoint othermade to gather at least a parts according to thesmall community, espe- local custom and/orcially family members the area of pain or in-and close friends. jury. First, the priest In cases where death anoints the forehead,is not imminent, the saying, “Through thissacrament may be re- holy anointing, mayceived in a ceremony the Lord in his love andin church on the occa- mercy help you withsion of a parish Mass. the grace of the HolyAt times the sacrament Spirit” (Pastoral Careof Reconciliation may of the Sick 124). Thenprecede reception of he anoints the hands,this anointing. How- saying, “May the Lordever the sacrament is who frees you fromcelebrated, the follow- sin save you and raiseing three elements must you up”(Pastoral Carebe included: the prayer of the Sick 124). Otherof faith, a laying on of parts of the body mayhands, and an anointing be anointed, and this iswith oil. ordinarily done in si- DAVID CHARLES PHOTOGRAPHY In the “prayer of lence.faith,” the priest asksthose present to pray What are the effectsfor the sick person. In of the Anointing ofthe form of a litany, they the Sick?ask God to give the sick The ﬁrst effect of theperson strength; free- Anointing of the Sick isdom from all harm, sin, and temptation; relief from the grace, God’s own life, which gives strength, com-sufferings; and recovery of life and health. fort, peace, and courage to the sick person in order to Next, the priest lays hands on the head of the sick overcome the difﬁculties and temptations of their ill-person and silently prays. The “laying on of hands” ness or old age. Through the sacrament, the sick per-is the gesture that Jesus used to heal the sick: they son is helped to trust Jesus more deeply, to know thatbrought “the sick with various diseases … to him; and he “the sufferings of this present time are not worth compar-laid his hands on every one of them and healed them” (Lk ing with the glory that is to be revealed” (Rom 8:18), and4:40; see also Mk 6:5; Lk 13:13). This same gesture to be able to “take up his cross” and follow Jesus everis also used for calling upon the Holy Spirit (see Acts more closely (Lk 9:23). Furthermore, “if he has com-8:14-17). Likewise, when the priest lays his hands mitted sins, he will be forgiven” (Jas 5:15). Forgivenesson the sick person, he is healing, blessing, and call- is a spiritual healing, a healing of the soul. If God soing on the Holy Spirit. wills, the sick person may also experience a healing Last, the priest anoints the sick person with the “oil of the body. When this is the case, the healing of theof the sick,” blessed by the bishop at the Chrism Mass body serves as a sign to all that God has visited hisduring Holy Week. Oil represents healing, strength- people and that a time will come when there will beening, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, and again no sickness.is an imitation of what Jesus did when he “anointed Those who are anointed can be joined more close- Anointing of the Sick — Page 2
JUPITERIMAGES “Sickness, especially when it is prolonged or life- threatening, can give someone the reason to take time to pray and think about the meaning of life.” ly to the suffering and death of Christ. Sometimes when celebrated at the hour of death with Reconcilia- the special mission or ministry given to the serious- tion and Viaticum, gives the sick person the grace they ly ill or elderly is to suffer, just as Jesus suffered. need to journey from earth to their Heavenly home. Through the Anointing of the Sick, the anointed per- son is more easily able to “rejoice in [his] sufferings” Prayer after Anointing (Col 1:24; see 1 Pt 4:13) and to willingly complete Lord Jesus Christ, you chose to share our human nature, in their bodies “what is lacking in Christ’s afﬂictions” to redeem all people, and to heal the sick. (Col 1:24) both for their own sake and for the sake Look with compassion upon your servant N. of his Body, the Church. Because of their union with whom we have anointed in your name with this holy oil Christ and his Body, when those who are anointed for the healing of his/her body and spirit. bear their suffering for the sake of Christ, they are Support him/her with your power, able to help the Body of Christ greatly: “If one mem- comfort him/her with your protection, ber suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all and give him/her the strength to ﬁght against evil. rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26). This ability to partici- Since you have given him/her a share in your own passion, pate in the saving work of Jesus to help the Body of help him/her to ﬁnd hope in suffering, Christ grow in every good and holy way is called “re- for you are Lord for ever and ever. Amen demptive suffering.” (Pastoral Care of the Sick 125). Finally, the sacrament of Anointing, especially (CCC 1420-1421, 1499-1525) Anointing of the Sick — Page 3