Sacrament of Anointing the Sick
Since the first days of the apostles, the church has celebrated God’s healing power in a holy mystery called Anointing of the Sick. This mystery may be administered only by priests and bishops – the true successors of the apostles and representatives of Jesus. In anointing of the sick, the priest or bishop anoints the sick person with the holy oil known as “Oil of the Sick”. The holy mystery of the anointing gives to sick people the grace of the Holy Spirit. It strengthens their trust in God and their ability to resist temptation. It gives them the ability to keep united to God and the church community in prayer.
The first prayer of the rite of anointing recalls that one of the purposes of the earthly mission of Christ was to be a divine healer. While Christ healed out of compassion, His ministry of healing announces the fact that the Kingdom of God is now present in the world in power and that the power of God is determined to be victorious over all manifestations of evil, whether they be physical or spiritual. This reality of divine healing activity in the world is part of the "good news" that is the Gospel of Christ.
Christ gave this healing power to His apostles when He said to them: "in My name you shall cast out devils, heal the infirm and comfort the burdened." The central theme of the first two prayers is the petition that God remove sins from the soul of the one who is ill and sickness from the body.
The Mystery of Anointing reminds us that while we may be absorbed with the illness at hand, we should always seek first to remedy the condition of our soul.
The opening prayers conclude by giving as the purpose of healing, the recovery of strength of spirit, faith and health so as to be able to give glory to God. We are reminded that the highest priority of having a healthy mind and body is to give praise to God. We are most fulfilled as human beings when our minds are directed to our Creator.