Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church

The Mystery of Anointing of the Sick

by Fr. Roman Bobesiuk

During his earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus Christ healed those who came to him of every illness and disease, as a sign of the appearance of the Kingdom of God, and out of his great love. He sent his apostles to do the same, and the Apostle James wrote, “Is any 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 5:13-15).

Oil, the Symbol of Healing

In Judaism and early Christianity, oil (generally olive oil) was a potent symbol. It could soothe wounds, cleanse, and soften; athletes poured oil upon their body before competing, and the anointing of a man as priest or king often made use of oil as well.

Christ himself was called the Messiah, or “anointed one of God”, and the descent of the Holy Spirit was seen as a further anointing. Thus, the Church, following the instructions of Saint James, anoints the sick for healing and forgiveness, in the Mystery of Holy Oil (also called Unction, or Anointing of the Sick, all of which have the same basic meaning).

The Holy Oil is also used in this Mystery as a sign of God’s presence, strength, and forgiveness. After the reading of three epistle lessons, three gospel lessons and the offering of three prayers, which are all devoted to healing, the priest anoints the body with the Holy Oil.

Scheduling a Visit

If you or someone you know is gravely ill, about to undergo a serious operation, or is in danger of death, the Mystery of Anointing is a powerful and grace-filled way for Jesus to come to your assistance. Contact us and we will schedule a visit with you or your loved one.

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