In each of the sacraments there are specific effects or graces that the Lord wishes to give us. The Catechism lists four effects or graces that come from the sacrament of Anointing.
The first grace is “A particular gift of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is described in the Holy Scriptures as a “Consoler” – what we need more than anything in the midst of our sickness is consolation – to know that we are not alone that God is with us.
The second grace is “union with the Passion of Christ.” Jesus Christ has changed suffering. Death and suffering – often seen as meaningless acts – were transformed by Jesus into an act of love. As Christians, when we suffer, we are not alone because our sufferings our joined to the suffering of Jesus Christ. As Jesus offered his life for the salvation of others, we too can offer our sufferings with his for the needs of the Church and those we love.
The third grace mentioned is “union with the Church.” The anointing of the sick reminds us that we are not alone in our sickness, but that the Church is thinking of us and praying for us. Each and every Sunday we offer Prayers for those who are sick. The Church of heaven, the angels and saints – they too are praying for us!
The fourth grace mentioned is “preparation for the final journey.” While the sacrament of anointing is not merely for the point of death, every time we are sick, we are reminded that we will not live forever. When we receive the anointing of the sick we surrender our lives to the will of the Father, accepting death when he shall send it. As this sacrament unites us to the passion and death of Christ, it also unites us to his resurrection. Those who suffer and die with Jesus will also rise with Jesus.
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