Anointing of The Sick (Extreme Unction)

Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him. — CCC 1501

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is therefore presented as an efficacious sign to turn the soul towards God. It is first mentioned in passing in Mk 6:13. St. James elaborates in his epistle:

Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. — Jas 5:14-15

You may receive the Anointing of the Sick whenever and for as long as you are severely ill — you do not necessarily need to be in danger of death. This Sacrament unites you to the passion of Christ, for your own good and the good of the whole Church. If it is conducive to the salvation of your soul, you may also be restored in health. If God calls, the Sacrament will prepare you to pass over to eternal life and confer the forgiveness of sins when Confession is not feasible (CCC 1532).

Want to receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick?

  • • You have been baptised or received into the Catholic Church.
  • • Non-Catholic Christians can request Anointing if they are in danger of death and cannot approach a minister from their own    community.
  • • Contact your parish for more information, or to ask for a priest to anoint the sick person at home or in hospital.

Penance & Anointing the Sick

God always welcomes us back to Himself – be it after having sinned or after this life. What are some ways in which He makes it easier for us to receive His graces here on earth?

What does St. John Paul II say about Reconciliation and Penance?

  • • Catholic Encyclopedia: The Sacrament of Penance.
  • • St. John Paul II: Apostolic Exhortation on Reconciliation and Penance.
  • • Catholic Answers: Anointing of the Sick.
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