The Sacraments of Healing
The next set of Sacraments that we will examine today are the sacraments of healing; which are the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) and the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. The Scriptures teach us that Jesus forgave sins and restored the health of those he encountered during his ministry. On the way to Jairus’s daughter (see Mark 5:21-43), Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood and commended her faith. He did not forget about Jairus’s daughter; Jesus went on to raise her from the dead. Many times in the Scriptures we see Jesus healing those he encounters who are sick. He commanded His apostles to heal the sick (see Matthew 10:8).
Although with Baptism, we are a new creation in Christ, we still fall short of the glory of God and sin. Because Jesus loves us so much, he gave us a way to continually be renewed and return to Him—The Sacrament of Reconciliation. (See CCC, 1426 and 1441)
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) has many spiritual effects on the participant:
– reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
– reconciliation with the Church;
– remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
– remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
– peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
– an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a repeatable sacrament. During this sacrament, the sick person is anointed with oil and prayed over for healing. This sacrament is alluded to by Mark 6:13 and expanded on in James 5:14-15. The special grace of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick grants us:
– the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church;
– the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age;
– the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance;
– the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
– the preparation for passing over to eternal life.
Part of our healthy Christian journey is to recognize the pain and separation that sin and illness can have on our lives and partake of the Sacraments of Healing in order to be restored to fullness of health and communion with the Body of Christ.