Anointing of the sick is one of the seven sacraments that are recognised by the Catholic Church, and is associated with not only bodily healing but also forgiveness of sins. The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has often been postponed until someone is near death, in spite of the fact that in all celebrations of this sacrament, the liturgy prayers for recovery of the health of the sick person if that would be conducive to their salvation.
Christians know that Christ loved the sick and often during his life he took the time to heal them. Christ Himself was sinless and yet he bore all the sufferings of his passion and understood human sorrow. Anointing of the sick expresses the care of Christ and the Church for sick people. Christ is working again through the sacrament with his sympathy and healing, as he did when he was among his people on earth.
The sacrament of anointing of the sick gives grace for the state into which people enter through sickness. Through the sacrament a gift of the Holy Spirit is given, that renews confidence and faith in God and strengthens against temptations to discouragement, despair and anguish at the thought of death and struggle of death. Anointing of the sick prevents the person from losing Christian hope in God’s justice, truth and salvation. It creates strength, peace and courage to endure, in a Christian manner, the sufferings of illness or age and prepares the person for passing over to eternal life.
The oil used in administering the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is called Oil of the Sick. It is one of the three Holy oils blessed by the bishop of the diocese at the cathedral on Holy Thursday morning. Oil of the Sick is pure olive oil and is evident from the healing and strengthening effects which are characteristic of olive oil.
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