Anointing of the Sick
"Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of the faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." (Jas 5: 14-15)
The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick bestows a special grace on the Christian experiencing difficulties that are part and parcel of the lived experience, namely serious illness or old age. The special grace bestowed on the sick unites them to the passion of Christ; it strengthens them with peace and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; it brings with it the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Reconciliation; it brings a restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul; and it prepares one for passing over into eternal life.
Since the Second Vatican Council, the Church is encouraging more and more Christians to seek the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick before grave illness and imminent death. Father Thomas Richstatter, OFM writes the following:
"Today, we are all aware that tensions, fear and anxiety about the future affect not only our mind, but our body as well. These illnesses can be serious. They can move us to ask for the healing touch of Christ in the Sacrament of Anointing. Persons with the disease of alcoholism or persons suffering from other addictions can be anointed. So can those who suffer from various mental disorders. The anxiety before exploratory surgery to determine if cancer is present is a situation in which Christ's power can be invoked in the Sacrament."