Anointing of the Sick
This is a sacrament of comfort. Through Anointing, the sick are reminded that Christ and the Church are in communion with their suffering. The Holy Spirit shares the blessings of health, trust in God, and strength against temptation.
Anointing of the Sick is also a sacrament of healing. Anointing of the Sick was once known as “extreme unction.” The idea behind this sacrament is that we are all members of the body of Christ. When one of us suffers, all of us suffer, and all of God’s creation suffers with us.
In the past, this sacrament was often kept strictly for those close to death. In more recent years the Church has encouraged greater use of this sacrament for illness which is not necessarily life-threatening such as during times of injury, illness, in anticipation of surgery, medical procedures, or child birth. It is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.
As with all the sacraments, this anointing has significance for the whole Church. It reminds us of our call to wholeness and our call to be a sign of salvation to the world. Wherever there is brokenness, we are to be instruments of Christ’s healing touch.