Anointing of the Sick

"Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.  May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”  (From the Rite of the Anointing of the Sick)

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Bible knows well that a central part of the public ministry of Jesus was to heal the sick both physically and spiritually, and He gave His Apostles the authority to do the same.  This authority was passed on to the successors of the Apostles and has continued to be handed down to the present day.  The Catholic Church continues Jesus’ ministry of healing through the Sacraments, and one of the ways this is done is through the Anointing of the Sick.

Baptism restores us to life and makes us new creations in Christ.  Through Confession, sins committed after Baptism are forgiven and we are restored to friendship with God.  Receiving the Eucharist also heals and restores us, but in addition to these beautiful Sacraments Jesus has given us, through His Body the Church and the ministry of His priests, the Anointing of the Sick.

Physical healing is possible and does happen for some, but the primary effect of the Anointing of the Sick is the grace through which one receives the courage to trust God more fully and to unite our sufferings with the Cross of Christ.  It helps us to put our illnesses in perspective and to carry our crosses, following Jesus more closely in His suffering and death.  We also receive the strength to offer our sufferings for the good of others and for the whole Church, and thus to participate powerfully in His saving work.  We may not receive physical healing, but we do receive abundant spiritual graces.

Although the Anointing of the Sick is primarily intended for those who are close to death as part of their preparation for their departure from this life, it may be received by anyone who has a chronic or serious illness, by those about to undergo major surgery, or by the elderly.  It can be repeated any time one becomes seriously ill or when their condition worsens.

To speak with a priest about receiving the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, contact your local parish.