What is the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament instituted by Christ, which is intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness. It is recommended to the faithful by the Apostles James: "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the priests 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 5:14-15).
It is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with duly blessed oil - pressed from olives or from other plants - saying, only once: "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."
Who Receives This Sacrament
The Anointing of the Sick is given to anyone of the faithful who begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age. If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person's condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation or when an elderly’s frailty becomes more pronounced.
Who Can Administer the Sacrament?
Only priests and bishops.
How Is This Sacrament Celebrated?
The Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration. It can take place in the family home, a hospital or church. It can be done for a single sick person or a whole group of sick persons. It is very fitting to celebrate it within the Eucharist. If circumstances suggest it, the celebration of the sacrament can be preceded by the sacrament of Penance and followed by the sacrament of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Word, preceded by an act of repentance, opens the celebration. The celebration of the sacrament includes the following principal elements: the laying on of hands by the priest who prays over them and the anointing with blessed oil
What are the Effects Of This Sacrament
- It increases or confers sanctifying grace.
- It confers a special grace that provides: Strength, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age; a renewed trust and faith in God; and strength against the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the face of death.
- The remission of sin, even mortal sins are removed provided the sick person is sorry for them and the sick person is no longer able to confess sins.
- Healing of the body, if this be of spiritual advantage;
- Person is united more closely to the passion of Christ. The sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ's Passion. Suffering becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.
- Prepares the person for their final journey. For those at the point of death the anointing strengthens the person for their final struggles.
Anointing at Baptism begins our conformity to the death and Resurrection of Christ; anointing of the sick completes that conformity.
Viaticum, the Last Sacrament Of the Christian
Viaticum refers to the reception of the Eucharist for the last time.