Is any of you sad? Let him pray. Is he cheerful in mind? Let him sing. Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him. - James 5: 13-15 (Douay Rheims)
In most cases, We see the Anointing of the Sick conferred upon a person close to death. This doesn’t always have to be the case. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this: ” The Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of the death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in the danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for them to receive the sacrament, has certainly already arrived. ” (CCC 1514)
I personally have been present many times for when the Anointing of the Sick has taken place during /after Mass. This is a beautiful ceremony. During the times i have witnessed the Sacrament, The Priest will have those in the parish who are sick come up to the foot of the altar. The Priest will then go to each person anointing them with oil on forehead and palms , and laying on of hands.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church also has this to say about the effects of the Sacrament: “The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church; the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of penance; the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul; the preparation for passing over to eternal life” (CCC 1532)
Like I mentioned above, Some symbols of this sacrament include the laying on of hands, and the anointing with oil on the forehead and the palms of both hands. The laying on of hands symbolizes the Spirit of God being called down – the very presence of the Lord putting his hands on our head. The oil is a sign that God ‘has put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts. Through the anointing we are strengthened for what lies ahead.
In this sacrament, we acknowledge the love of God and the dignity of God’s people, a dignity that is not diminished by illness, or even death.
Here is a video from Busted Halo’s Fr Dave Dwyer about the Sacrament of the Sick:
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Joe-Sales-e1321895023762.png[/author_image] [author_info]Joe Sales is an Educational Assistant with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. He has a college diploma through the St Clair College’s Developmental Services Worker program at Thames Campus. He is also a loving husband, blogger, and loves to serve God through Word and Action. Joe was born and raised in Chatham Ontario, Canada. He currently resides in Waterloo Ontario with his wife. During his spare time, Joe is a strong advocate for people who have disabilities. Joe also speaks to groups and conferences across the province of Ontario and other locations as well. Joe’s faith as a Roman Catholic is very important to him. Joe also has a passion for technology and new media. If you would like to check out Joe’s blog, it can be found here.[/author_info] [/author]