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Friday, July 17, 2015

Anointing of the Sick

And going out, they were preaching, so that people would repent. And they cast out many demons, and they anointed many of the sick with oil and healed them.
Mark 6:12-13

This is one of the passages that affirm the basis for the Sacrament of Anointing. The Apostles went and anointed people with oil and healed them. Although oil is used as medicine, Catholics used blessed oil for the sacrament.

Years ago, this sacrament used to be reserved for the dying. However, the Church has brought this sacrament back to its original purpose: to heal the sick, not only the dying. This sacrament is not for those who are sick with a flu or cold; but it can be administered to those who are about to go to surgery, those who have chronic diseases and for those with emotional or mental illnesses.

A sacrament is a visible sign of a spiritual reality. It is something done to the body to show what is happening in the soul. We believe that when the sacrament is administered to a sick person, healing takes place. The healing may not be visible because the healing can happen within a person. Even if the healing is not seen, we believe God is working and whatever healing the person needs takes place.

The sacraments work, not because of the holiness of the person administering it. The minister may be a sinful person, but administered properly, the sacrament is effective. The sacraments work because it is Jesus who administers the sacrament through the minister and it is the power of the Holy Spirit that works in the sacrament.

This sacrament does not only benefit the person receiving it. It also benefits the people who witness the sacrament. At the Cathedral here in Victoria, we sometimes have public celebrations of the sacrament. I have not seen any physical healings. But I have seen many sick and fragile people who cannot walk, come to the Lord to receive healing. Their act of coming to the Lord is a silent witness of the God who calls us to come to him and find rest in him. They may never be physically healed of their sickness but I know they have touched God and encountered him. In their weakness and silence, they have preached God's love.

If you are suffering from a chronic sickness or about to go to surgery, take advantage of this gift. Let God touch your soul and give you healing and peace.

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