We believe God heals in all kinds of ways, physically, spiritually and emotionally. One of the special ways that God heals us is in the Sacraments. The origin of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is found In the letter of St. James:
“Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:14-15
The Effects of the Sacrament
Jesus heals us in many ways, but especially through the Sacraments. We have two sacraments called sacraments of healing - Confession and the Anointing of the Sick. Both of these sacraments illustrate the depth and broad reality of healing. In the Gospels we see that repentance and conversion precede healing, sometimes courage to seek out Jesus for healing, but in all cases we see that the person seeking healing has faith. In fact, sometimes Scripture clearly points out that the greatest gift of those who are healed is the gift of faith. We may never be physically healed, but all of us can experience the gift of salvation.
Received in faith and in a state of grace, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick provides the recipient with a number of graces, including the fortitude to resist temptation in the face of death, when he is weakest; a union with the Passion of Christ, which makes his suffering holy; and the grace to prepare for death, so that he may meet God in hope rather than in fear. If the recipient was not able to receive the Sacrament of Confession, Anointing also provides forgiveness of sins. And, if it will aid in the salvation of his soul, the Anointing of the Sick may restore the recipient's health.
Because of our baptism, we are no longer orphans and are no longer separated from God. Instead, we become a beloved son or daughter of God. Even though this identity as a beloved son or daughter should be deeply ingrained in each of us, this isn’t always the case.
1. Do you struggle with accepting that you are a beloved son or daughter of God? Ask Jesus to heal the places in your heart that don’t know you are a beloved son or daughter of God.
2. The sacraments are an encounter with the divine presence as Jesus as our Physician. Do you seek an encounter each day with our Lord?
3. When Adam and Eve sinned, brokenness entered the world. But the sacraments are God’s remedy to put things back together. What areas of your life do you want God to put back together?
4. The Eucharist is capable of healing us in every degree, but we don’t always approach it with this expectation or with any anticipation of healing. How can you increase your sense of awe and of expectation when you encounter the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?
I invite you to reflect on these questions and ask the Lord to heal you and increase your faith.
God bless, Fr. Dennis