Monday, February 28, 2011


                                         SACRAMENT OF ANOINTING OF THE SICK.

A.   Introduction.

1.   Sickness and Sin.

Sickness, the painful lessening of vitality, symbolizes the more basic lessening of humanity's wholeness, namely, sin. God, who wishes wholeness and the fullness of life for all, is viewed in Scripture as a "healer" (Exodus 15:26). He heals the body and the spirit as an indication of his presence to heal the deeper illness of his sin. He is with us to help us overcome sin and ultimately even sickness and death.

When God's saving power finally triumphs over the power of sin, there will no longer be any sickness. Isaiah describes that the happy day: then will the eyes of the blind be opened, /the ears of the deaf be cleared; / Then will the lame leap like a stag, /then the tongue of the dumb will sing' (35:5-6). Isaiah's vision is echoed in the vision of john in the final pages of the Book of Revelation:" This is God's dwelling against among men. He shall dwell with them and they shall be his people and he shall be their God who is always with them wipe every tear from their eyes and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out of pain, for the former world has passed away" (21:3-4).

In the eyes of the early Christian Church, the presence of the Jesus revealed this healing, saving presence of God. Wherever Jesus encountered people of good faith, he cured their sickness and forgave their sins. The one signs of his power over the other. "That you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins (he said to the paralyzed man), "I command you: Stand up! Pick up you mat and go home"(Mark 2:10-11).

2.   Jesus Compassionate Healer.

The miracles of healing were motivated by genuine sympathy for suffering people. "Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes, and immediately they could see" (Matthew 20:54). Jesus was not a kind of super doctor - his way was to call people to repent their sins and to believe in the saving power of a loving God. His miracles of healing were directed at arousing and deepening faith. They were acts of the healing, saving presence of God, who wants human being's to whole, to live full lives.

Anointing of the sick is the continuation of the healing ministry of Christ. Like his miracles in Galilee and Judea, the primary effect of this sacrament is not physical healing, but faith. It is not a replacement for medical science. Rather it is a sacrament, or effective sing, of the healing presence of the Savior. It is a reminder that ultimately neither sickness nor death nor nothing else can separate us from the love God has for us in the Christ (Roman 8:98-99).

Because of the sacrament is meant to deepen the faith not only of the sick person thereby bringing some degree of comfort and strength, even partial healing-but also of the Christian community, it should be received as soon as serious sickness or old age makes death a danger.

"Extreme unction, which may also and more fittingly be called the anointing of the sick, is not a sacrament only for those who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as any one of the faithful begins to be in the danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time to receive this sacrament has certainly arrived (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 75).

Through this sacrament, in the Christian community stands by the aging or ill with genuine concern, sharing in the healing ministry of Jesus. The person who is now weak has normally spent many years serving others. Now when the energy for service is draining away, the Christian community is there to the comfort and support. The presence and participation of the community in the sacrament as a sign of the continuing love presence of Christ, who is faithful "in sickness as in health".

Through an exploration of their experiences of and feelings about sickness and healing, the students are guided in this lesson to a sense of sympathy and compassion. Within the context of their lives-medicine, doctors, nurses, parents, who bring healing -the anointing of the sick is studied. It is related to the ministry of Jesus in the gospels.

In this way it is hoped that the students will come to appreciate this sacrament as a joyful, comforting experience. It should remind the sick and elderly that the Church and Christ himself still love and are with them. Sickness and old age can be privileged moments of life.

The Catholic Church teaches that anointing of the sick is a sacrament. The Church teaches that as a sacrament of healing, it is continuation of the healing ministry of Jesus Christ through the compassionate action of his Church. The sacrament celebrates Jesus' healing power as a continuing reality in our lives.

B.   Meaning.

It is the transformation of human sufferings into a sign of God's love to all people. It is the sign of hope, strength and peace and solidarity with God. It is the sacrament which given health and strength to the soul and sometimes to the body when are dangerously ill.

C.   Purpose:
1.       Provides the graces of the Holy Spirit.
2.       Heightens trust in God.
3.   Strength men against temptations and anxiety and may even restore physical health.
4.       Provides forgiveness in sins.
5.       Receives the strength and healing of Jesus. 
6.       Strengthens his union with Christ and the Church.
7.   Sharing in God's life though his and her incorporation into the passion and death of Jesus

D.   Condition: Faith in Jesus

E.   Recipients
1.       the sick
2.       the old age
3.       anybody in danger of death who have reached the age of reason (dying)

F.   VIATICUM - is the Holy Communion received during the rite of the anointing of the sick.

G.   Effects.
1.       It increases sanctifying grace.
2.   It takes away venial sin even moral, when the repentant sick person is unable to confess them.
3.    It removes the weakness and pain heartedness one feels in doing good.
4.       It gives strength to suffer sickness with patience.
5.    It helps one recover bodily health if it is good for his spiritual health.

H.   Ways of Helping a Sick Person prepare for the last sacrament
1.       Spiritually - get ready for confession.
2.       Corporally - clean the patient and prepare the things needed.

I.   What are the last sacraments administered to dangerously ill person?
1.       Confession
2.       Anointing of the sick
3.       Holy communion (Viaticum)
4.       If not received before confirmation 

J.   Prayer recited in the hour of death
"O my God, I now at this moment readily and willingly accept whatever kind of death you may wish to send me, with all its pains, penalties, and sorrows. Amen."

Questions and Answer:

1.   What is the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?
      The Anointing of the Sick is the Sacrament which,
•   through the laying on of hands.
•   The prayer of faith, and the
•   Anointing with blessed oil,
•   Provides the sick with Christ's healing grace of the Holy Spirit.

2.    What are the effects of the Sacrament of Anointing?
      Through the grace of the Sacrament,
•   The whole man is brought to health,
•   Trust in God is encouraged, and
•   Strength is given to resist the temptations of the Evil One and anxiety of death.
•   A return to physical health may even follow it it will be beneficial to the sick person's salvation.

3.   What is the difference between "healing" and "cure"?
   "Cure" today usually refers to the medical pursuit of the eradication of disease or defect. Whereas, "healing" refers rather to the holistic care that touches body mind and spirit of the sick person. Often someone suffering from "incurable" disease in the medical sense may still be healed in the deeper, personal sense.

4.    What is the Christian attitude toward sickness?
      The Christian is called to:
•   See sickness as a sign of the oppressive presence of evil in the world, and therefore,
•   Struggle against all sickness and seek good health; and
•   Recognize the need for the sick for special help and comfort from family, community, and God's grace.

5.    Did Christ institute this Sacrament of Anointing?
   Christ passed on his own ministry of healing the sick and the infirm to the apostles and the Church. Thus, St. James Wrote: "is there anyone sick among you? He should ask for the presbyters of the Church. They in turn are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. This prayer uttered in faith will reclaim the one who is ill, and the Lord will restore him to health" (Jas. 5:145f)   

6.    How has the Sacrament of anointing been renewed?
      The renewal of this sacrament includes:
•   Changing its aim to serving the sick, not the dying, and hence the change of its name to Anointing of the Sick instead of Extreme Unction;
•   Inserting the "prayer of faith" in which the community, represented by the priest, the family, friends and neighbors – all pray for those to be anointed; and
•   Giving emphasis to Christ, the Healer, who transforms the meaning and significance of the sick person's illness into a sharing in his own saving work.

7.    What is Holy Viaticum?

   Holy Viaticum means "with you on the way" is the Eucharist given to the dying Christian. It vividly pictures Christ as leading and accompanying the Christian into the heavenly banquet.

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