anointingThe Healing Power of Christ

At the 9.05 a.m. Mass on the 1st Friday of the month an anointing of the sick takes place. In the celebration of anointing and in Communion the sick are brought into the presence of Christ who strengthens them to face and overcome the suffering and “evil” by which we are challenged when we are sick. This is not only a moment of healing for those who are sick but a time in which all can recognise their own debility and weakness. It is an occasion when the sick and suffering themselves can minister to the whole community showing how the state of sickness and diminishment can lead to deeper faith and depth of understanding.

Who Should Come Forward for Anointing?

There is much confusion abroad on this question. Some people still feel that this Sacrament is only for those on their deathbeds, while others suggest that everyone is a suitable candidate for the Sacrament, because we all have some sickness in us.

The official ritual book, “Pastoral Care of the Sick” says:

“Great care and concern should be taken to see that those of the faithful whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age receive this Sacrament. A prudent or reasonably sure judgement, without scruple, is sufficient for deciding on the seriousness of an illness; if necessary a doctor may be consulted” (#8). The ritual goes on to note that the Sacrament may be repeated if the sick person recovers and then falls ill again or if during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious. A person may be anointed before surgery “whenever a serious illness is the reason for the surgery” (#10). Elderly people may also be anointed “if they have become notably weakened even though no serious illness is present” (#11) and children are to be anointed “if they have sufficient use of reason to be strengthened by this sacrament” (#12).

Though a judgement call is required in every case, the principles are fairly simple. The anointing of the sick is for people who are seriously ill (physically or mentally), not just for those on their deathbed. It may be celebrated with children who could benefit from it.

A Prayer for Today

Every day I need Thee, Lord, but this day specially, I need some extra strength to face whatever is to be. This day more than any day I need to feel Thee near – to fortify my courage and to overcome my fear.

By myself I cannot meet the challenge of the hour. There are times when human creatures need a higher Power – to help them bear what must be borne. And so, dear Lord, I pray – hold on to my trembling hand and be with me today.

Begin each day, saying something like:-
“Father, I believe in You;
I adore You;
I hope in You;
I thank You, and
I love You,’
and saying the same to the Son, Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit.



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