Few of us escape serious illness over the course of our lifetimes. Whether we suffer from physical or mental sickness or the debilitating effects of old age, we all eventually have to deal with things that slow us down, crush our spirits, or make us wonder why suffering is a normal part of life.
The Church offers the second sacrament of healing, anointing of the sick, as a way to bring spiritual comfort and strength to those who have attained the “use of reason” and are in danger due to sickness or old age. This is not a sacrament restricted only to the dying, and it is not a sacrament that can be received only once. Anointing of the sick is designed to shore up those who are losing spiritual and physical strength.
The Church looks to Jesus Christ in his role as “physician” and healer of bodies and souls when discussing this sacrament. Jesus had a special closeness with the sick and suffering, offering them hope and a healing touch. When he says, “I was ill and you cared for me” (Matthew 25:36), he identifies himself with the sick and reminds Christians of their call to reach out to those who are suffering from illness. (1503)
This deep connection between Jesus Christ the healer and those in need of healing serves as the foundation for the sacrament of anointing of the sick. Although sometimes this sacrament may result in physical healing, that’s not what it is all about. Jesus did not cure all illness or remove all suffering. Rather, he taught his disciples that, because of his bringing God’s kingdom, sickness does not own us. “By his Passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.” (1505)
If you or someone you know is interested in receiving the Sacrament of Anointing, please contact the parish office (744-1540) to arrange for a visit from one of our parish priests.