The Anointing of the Sick….
In James 5:14-15, we learn about the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick:
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, NAB
Before becoming Catholic, I had many misconceptions about Catholic beliefs, and I actually thought that there was little scriptural evidence for many Catholic practices. The Anointing of the Sick was one example. Yet here in James 5, we very clearly see Biblical support for the practice.
The sacraments are a way for us to draw closer to God. They are an important part of our lives as Catholics. We receive the Eucharist at Mass and attend Confession regularly. We are baptized (usually as infants) and later confirmed. At some point, we may choose Holy Matrimony or Holy Orders.
Each of these sacraments are an important part of our Catholic journey, but how often do we consider the Anointing of the Sick?
Generally speaking, we do not call our priests every time we have a common cold, and a sore joint from exercising is hardly reason to receive the sacrament. However, there are times that it is appropriate. Are you battling a major illness, such as fighting cancer? Did you recently have heart problems? Are you going into surgery any time soon? Any of these reasons would be a great time to look into this sacrament.
Through God’s grace, the Anointing of the Sick may bring us the physical healing that we need, but whether it does or not, it will heal our soul. It can give us strength in some of our weakest moments, and the fortitude to face whatever life throws at us.
As we read in James 5, the Anointing of the Sick has strong Biblical roots. It is a sacrament that is often overlooked but is there for us when we need God’s grace the most.