Anointing of the Sick
Hope for the Hopeless
One of the single greatest challenges any one of us will face is our own mortality. Sickness and death are a part of life. There is no escaping it. The Anointing of the Sick, one of the Sacraments of Healing, is one way for us to cope with reality of our frailty.
The Anointing of the Sick is not a guarantee that we will see a miraculous healing of our body. Instead, it is a guarantee that we will find a healing of our soul. Through this Sacrament, peace comes to our lives through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will bring us the courage to face whatever may come. Our earthly body may parish, but we can find peace in everlasting life with Christ.
Not the End
It has been said that the Anointing of the Sick will likely be the last Sacrament that we will receive. However, the sacrament is not only for the dying. When facing a major surgery, it may be appropriate to participate in the Sacrament. Serious illnesses, if it is in God's will, can be overcome. At times, through the grace of God, someone may receive the Sacrament and return to health, but there is no guarantee. By this Sacrament, we admit that our lives belong to God. We seek not the healing of our body, but of our soul.
No matter what may happen, the Anointing of the Sick will bring us closer to Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
"By the grace of this Sacrament the sick person receives the strength and gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ's Passion." -CCC, 1521
Nothing could be more important. Whether we simply need the strength to overcome an illness, or we are facing our own mortality, our life will more closely align with Christ. In fact, it helps to sanctify us for the good of the entire Church.
Preparing the Way
Death is an inevitable part of life. It is a topic that few like to discuss; however, it is a reality that we will all someday face. The question for all of us is whether or not we will face death with grace or with fear. Are we ready to make the final journey?
The Anointing of the Sick prepares us for our final journey. First, it strengthens us and brings us peace. Second, it brings the forgiveness of sins so that we may enter heaven without stain. Finally, as it states in the Catechism, it completes the journey that began at Baptism and continued through Confirmation (CCC, 1523)." Through this Sacrament, we are prepared to meet our Father who is waiting for us in heaven. It may be the end of our earthly life, but it is marks only the beginning of our life in Heaven with the Lord.