Anointing of the Sick
Pain & suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus - a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.
- Mother Teresa
Formerly known as "Last Rites" or "Extreme Unction", the Anointing of the Sick is one of the three repeatable Sacraments in the Catholic Church. Any member of the faithful can receive this sacrament as soon as he or she begins to be in danger of death because of sickness or old age. The faithful who receive this sacrament can receive it several times if their illness becomes worse or another serious sickness afflicts them. The celebration of this sacrament should, if possible, be preceded by individual confession on the part of the sick person.
The belief that the Anointing of the Sick should be received only in the moments before death, is a misconception. The Sacrament is often received:
- Before surgery, or a serious medical precedure.
- During a long-term or terminal illness.
- Experiencing health issues related to old age.
The Anointing of the Sick is a prayer of healing, not only for our physical healing, but also for spiritual health, and for the strength, peace, and courage to bear the burden of illness.
As Catholics, we are asked to see our sufferings as a way of being united with the sufferings of Christ.
The Anointing of the Sick also imparts the forgiveness of sins, and therefore can only be administered by a priest or bishop.