BACK TO OUR ROOTS (DAY 35) -26/04/17
Last Monday, we discussed in detail the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Some people approach this sacrament in fear with the wrong assumption that once administered, the recipient must die.” Some of the effects of this sacrament are as follows:
Effects of the Sacrament
- It provides courage, strength, and peace in the face of illness.
- It helps the sick person to trust in God no matter what happens.
- It gives the sick person grace to unite his or her suffering to the passion of Christ.
- It provides physical and/or spiritual healing according to God’s will.
- It offers necessary graces so that the sick person may prepare for death.
- It provides an opportunity for the forgiveness of sins even when the sick person is too ill to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Symbols of the Sacrament
As with all the sacraments, the Anointing of the Sick uses human objects and actions as symbols to point to something beyond themselves – God’s grace.
Oil has been recognized from ancient times for its properties of healing and cleansing. A person who has been anointed with oil is set apart for a special purpose. In terms of this sacrament, oil symbolizes healing from illness, cleansing from sin, and consecration (i.e., setting apart as holy) to God.
The priest or bishop often anoints the sick person’s forehead and palms with the sign of the cross, which reminds Catholics that their salvation comes through the cross of Jesus Christ, and that they are called to unite their sufferings to those of Jesus.
The forehead is one of the most visible places on the human body. We believe that our faith in Christ should be visible through our actions. An anointing on the forehead also symbolizes the need to know Christ and follow Him.
Human hands are often associated with human activity. When sick people are anointed on the hands, they are reminded that they must turn all their activity over to Christ. They must place themselves under His will, even if He wills their earthly activity to cease.
The laying on of hands by the priest or bishop comforts the sick person but also symbolizes the power of God entering the sick person through the mediation of the priest or bishop.
In conclusion, when the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God’s will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age. If, however, it be the will of God that they die, the sacrament prepares them to face death with courage and die peacefully.
Let us meet next week Monday 01/05/17 to continue our journey back to our roots.
God bless you.
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