Does Anointing of the Sick
Forgive Mortal Sin?
THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD SACRAMENT
Confusion in The Faith
Anointing of the sick is the most confused sacrament in the Church today, which is sadly being administered very incorrectly to most souls–not according to the Church Law or Catechism of the Church, causing souls to lose the fantastic grace God had waiting for them.
Anointing of the sick is a wonderful gift from God to help those, who can obtain God’s grace, to grow in our sorrow for our sins, from having just some sorrow until we obtain TRUE contrition (true sorrow), which is the kind of contrition we need to embrace God’s saving forgiving mercy for the salvation of our souls. Anything else rejects mercy for sin and chooses Hell for eternity.
But, “does anointing of the sick forgive all mortal sins?” Well, sadly for most, no.
“Extreme Unction [anointing of the sick] was not instituted primarily for the remission of grave offences; only Baptism and Penance [Confession] accomplish this directly.”
— Catechism of the Catholic Church Counsel of Trent
However, for a very few, as explained in this article, it can forgive mortal sin…Even though, this sacrament was not primarily established for the forgiveness of sins, it can still forgive, that is, IF the recipient is properly disposed to receive its grace.
By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests…Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins” (CCC #1499; #1503).
But why are so very few being moved into a state of grace through the anointing of the sick?
Only TRUE Contrition Saves
We must know, in order to accept God’s saving forgiving mercy, so we can embrace His gift of Eternal Life and not reject it (choose Hell), we must have true sorrow for all of our sins, not just for some sins, but we must have grown enough in faith to have true contrition for literally every sin committed after baptism.
“Thy death will not save me, if I do not on my part detest every evil and have true sorrow for the sins I have committed against Thee.”
–St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church
Yes, we are saved (accept Jesus’ sacrifice that freed us from our sins) by the contrition in our hearts for our sins…not some half-hearted contrition but TRUE contrition–a contrition that puts fourths such effort into amending our ways, we would rather suffer anything rather than offend God, whom we should have spent our lives perfectly loving and now desire to give our all to never offend.
It is a contrition that, if we had another moment to live, we would truly surrender our life of chasing after the pleasures of the world and sincerely give our all to loving God–to become a saint, as God commands of His children.
“If you ask me what [true] repentance is, I tell you that it is an anguish of the soul, and a detestation for past sin, and a firm resolve never to sin again…No my friends, you must not rely on tears alone. They are often deceiving, and many persons weep in the confessional and fall back into the same sin at the first opportunity…Christians who has sinned and wishes to obtain pardon, must be so minded that he would rather suffer the most cruel tortures than fall back into the sin which he has just confessed.”
–St. John Vianney
Please know, just one sin (mortal or venial) that we think lightly of (don’t truly hate) rejects it all. Yes, one sin. Even our venial sins, we don’t think are a big deal, from a lack of true hatred for them, are now mortal. Being OK, with offending God at all is deadly.
[The lost] do not consider that the least little sin a man finds delight in [doesn’t truly hate] is enough to damn him to an eternal torment, and that God does not let the least little sin go unpunished…Therefore, they shall be tormented for all eternity because of their constant intention of sinning [lack of contrition, as their life of constant unchanged habitual sins prove].”
–Blessed Mother to St. Bridget of Sweden
We must grow in faith to be horrified that we have spent our life offending God, Our Beloved Lord, whom we should have been loving, if we want to be forgiven of our sins and saved. To learn more please read, “What is True Sorrow?”
Must Be Administered Correctly
Anointing of the sick is supposed to help move us into obtaining this kind of contrition. However, for most, anointing of the sick doesn’t send much if any grace (help), not only because this sacrament was not instituted primarily for the remission of sins, but because it can’t forgive most or even help send grace, for the most part, since this sacrament isn’t being administered correctly.
When administered according to the teachings of the Church, extreme unction (anointing of the sick) helps soften our hard hearts into truly humble contrite ones that can be moved into a state of grace. However, today very few souls are receiving the sacrament properly and this sacrament, that could have helped save them, isn’t.
Growing in hatred for all our sins is so important, in order to help us grow in sorrow, Our Lord established ALL of the sacraments for this purpose. But the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, is the one created to help move us into a saving faith when we are in danger of death.
“Among the penitent’s acts contrition [sorrow] occupies first place” (CCC#1451)
To begin to shed light on the misuse of the sacrament, unlike popular thinking–from great deception in the faith today–anointing of the sick isn’t a healing sacrament for anyone who wants it.
According to the teaching of the Catholic Church (what we should be obeying) only those in danger of death can receive this sacrament (Canon Law #1004).
“The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger [of death] due to sickness or old age.” (Canon Law #1004)
But many don’t want to follow the teaching of the Church, since we feel we know better and from proud hearts, we go off “teaching…doctrines [from] human precepts” (Matthew 5:19). Yet, for good to truly occur we must “obey in all things” (Colossians 3:22). God blesses us through obedience, not sin.
However, not only must someone be in danger of death to receive the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, if at all possible before someone’s death, time must be made for the sick to make a humble contrite confession as well (CCC #1517).
“If circumstances suggest it [if the dying is conscience], the celebration of the sacrament [anointing of the sick] can be preceded by the sacrament of Penance” (CCC #1517)
The sacrament of reconciliation (penance) is the greatest sacrament God has established to help our souls move into true contrition. Intentionally not allowing nor recommending the dying to receive this fantastic sacrament, while educating the penitent to it’s importance, it is extremely tragic.
“All care should be taken that nothing impede the grace of the sacrament [of Extreme Unction], and as nothing is more opposed to it [nothing rejects grace more] than the consciousness of mortal guilt, the constant practice of the Catholic Church must be observed of administering the sacrament of penance [prior to anointing of the sick]…”
–Catechism of the Catholic Church Counsel of Trent
It is possible someone can grow in such sorrow for their sins at their death, they can die like the repentant thief, who died next to Christ being crucified. But if we are never told of our great need to grow into true contrition, and remain complacent with offending God, how can we?
If we never come to know what we should have been doing with our whole life–striving to become a saint/working with our whole heart to not offend God and come to understand the horrific consequences that sin has against God, our neighbor and ourselves, then how can we grow into true sorrow? To learn more please read, “What are the Consequences of Sin.”
“The priest should also have a book and oil. The book is for the instruction of those who are imperfect, the holy oil is for the anointing of the sick.”
–Mother of God to St. Bridget of Sweden
Horribly, most are trying to strip us for having any fear of the Lord (fear of sinning)–saying “just believe in Christ and you are saved”…like it doesn’t even matter if we are sorry for our sins or not. Tragic! To learn more please read, “What is Fear of the Lord.”
Now, from believing that lie, we aren’t seeking Our Savior to help us grow in sorrow for offending Him (to save us). We are hoping to be forgiven without even hating our offences against God, but our hope will be in vain, because we will reject Heaven for eternal suffering from having a lack of sorrow for offending God.
If we are given the awesome responsibility of helping someone to not perish into eternal destruction, and we didn’t truly help them, how horrific of a crime against God and His children is that? I don’t know what could be worse.
“This is what the priests are doing to me in this time…They do not care or bother about their obligation for the salvation of souls…
–Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden
Oh, how hard it is for anointing of the sick to do much good for a soul, who is riddled with unrepentant sins. Please see that this sacrament is administered correctly. This is obedience; this is The Way; this is what saves!
Above are only a few of the prerequisites and rules needed to obtain this sacrament properly. The rest are discussed later in this article which are very important too.
Prepare For Our Death
However, not only is this sacrament not being administered properly, which is greatly hindering the reception of grace, every soul should have been preparing for our death our entire lives, seeking Mercy to grow in our hatred for our sins (love for God).
Even if someone was so blessed to receive the sacrament correctly, most people aren’t able to receive enough grace from anointing of the sick because of our lack of correct preparation.
If we did prepare during our lives, if there was any sin not fully hatred (lacked true contrition) after our life time of growing and changing–from correctly living the faith “work[ing] out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), this sacrament could have helped them overcome some lack of contrition/lack of true love for God, so to help save them.
“‘He who lives well, dies well;’ and ,’He who lives ill,dies ill.’ We must acknowledge that it is a most dangerous thing to deter till death our conversion from sin to virtue [becoming like Christ]: far more happy are they who begin to carry the yoke [live the commands] of the Lord “from their youth,” as Jeremiah says…This business is no trifling matter, but one of the utmost difficulty and importance: …
‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.’ (Mt. 7:13).
To live in the world, and to despise the pleasures of the world [so to desire God alone/have no idols] is very difficult [begin today learning how to hate sin and the world so to truly love God].”
–St. Robert Bellarmine
But from our great confusion in the faith today, since we live in the time of great darkness, not only is the sacrament not being administered correctly, people are hoping for a free pass to Salvation, without even working to live the faith…without truly growing to hate our sins, as we clearly see from our unrestrained habitual sins and constant longing for the world’s pleasures/idols (family, friends, food, things, success, comfort, attention) to bring us happiness and not God alone (our source of true happiness). But there are no free passes.
“If you are a habitual sinner [who isn’t working hard to amend them]…You are very ill; you are one of those invalids who, as St. Thomas of Villanova says, are seldom cured [by the prayers of others]; you are on the brink of perdition [Hell].
— St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church
Now, since we are presuming we are saved, because we “believe” in Jesus and have this sacrament, most aren’t prepared nor preparing for our death, nor following the examples of the saints (who know the real Way to Life), resulting in us not receiving this sacrament truly desiring to love God, since our “belief” isn’t true. Oh, we say we believe, but we are still unknowingly wanting many of our sins, lacking true faith/lacking true belief and are rejecting saving grace.
Sadly, the fantastic grace God wanted to send us through the anointing of the sick isn’t being received into our souls, because we don’t really want it (we still want our sins), and we are dying–loosing it all and falling into eternal suffering. Horrible! We don’t know The Way.
“The elect [those who obtain Heaven]…are few in number. It would cause us to faint away from grief to learn how surprisingly small is their number.”
–St. Louis De Montfort
Learn more about how to obtain a saving faith please read about why the saints warn us, “Very Few Christians Are Saved” (St. Augustine) on the home page article of this web site.
When We Do Bad, Thinking It is Good
Sadly, many times the evil one uses our pride to convince us doing bad is actually good. The devil will trick us into thinking the greater good is disobedience to the Church, as if offending God could be good, because we have been convinced we know what is best/correct. This is the reason the true faith isn’t being lived by most and it is the reason anointing of the sick isn’t being administered correctly either. To learn more please read, “How Does Our Pride Kill Us.”
When anointing of the sick is given as “healing” sacrament to anyone who is a little sick or just wants it…because we know, when God will’s this sacrament does heal, we are defiant and self-willed. We want someone healed whether we offend God or not.
But from the evil one’s deception, we will firmly believe, out of misguided love, administering this sacrament against the teaching of the Church–according to our will–is in fact good. Horribly, the devil has just convinced us we have more wisdom than the Church and sinning is good. What a horrible trap! Even if the Church is mistaken, nothing is more valuable than obedience (unless of course it breaks God’s law). Please don’t be deceived. To learn more please read, “Misguided Love.”
When we convince ourselves bad is good, we are justifying our crimes against God because our pride won’t allow us to humbly relent to obedience. We need to follow the saints and their perfect obedience, if we really want to truly help souls.
“The virtue of obedience is so indispensable to a religious that, even if he were to perform good actions contrary to obedience, these would be evil and without merit…We sin gravely when we scorn the authority.”
We must remember, bad never = good. How can we tell Our Lord, I’m going to offend You, because I think that will help another? Oh, how the devil has tricked us…how little we truly love God!
Actually, incorrectly administering this sacrament isn’t only gravely sinful for the person administering it, when someone wrongly declares it removes mortal sin, that also misguides God’s children as to what is really needed to obtain Salvation, and makes them blind, thinking they can just have some oil placed on them and a prayer said, and they are saved. But that simply isn’t the truth.
Then, being deceived, they never seek Mercy to help them grow in contrition to obtain a truly contrite heart for each and every sin ever committed, which is what really saves. To learn more please read, “What is True Sorrow.”
As a result, this false truth robs souls of fear of the Lord (fear of sin and its consequences) and the desire to seek grace for help to grow in faith, by making them lukewarm and not concerned with their Eternal Life.
Tragically, bounds of souls are waiting, thinking this sacrament is going to give them Life, when they haven’t even tapped into obtaining a heart of true contrition. They want a free pass to Life, but “a person will reap only what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7). Please don’t be deceived. Eternity is forever.
Preaching there is a free pass to Life–this lie–can actually cause greater condemnation upon their souls too, as is explained in this article. We must become educated to the real truth. Souls are dying.
We need to see souls receive this wonderful sacrament properly, seeing that only the gravely ill receive it after they have been educated and participate in a humble contrite confession (if at all possible), so it can provide them with the greatest benefit for the salvation of their souls. Anything else is highly offensive to God and depriving the soul of the dying with grace, grace they need to be saved.
There Are No Get Out of Jail (Hell) For Free Cards
Sadly, even among the religious, there is much confusion to the correct teaching of the Catholic faith in regards to the sacraments, indulgences and other promises, from God, His Mother, or from devotions, sacramentals, or any other blessings that sends us grace.
Horribly, so many have been convinced we can take God’s saving mercy without even wanting to TRULY love Him–without even honestly working to stop offending Him–without striving to become a perfect self-sacrificing saint as God has commands of us. We want to keep our sins, but yet, still be forgiven for committing them.
This abuse of God’s mercy–wanting forgiveness without even being truly sorry for our sins–that many have been sucked into believing is possible, takes away the fear of the Lord (fear of sin) we need to come to know our sinfulness (gain humility) and removes our desire to seek God’s mercy to help us amend our ways so to not offend Him. To learn more please read, “What is Fear of the Lord.”
Then instead of spending our life working hard obtaining God’s grace to live the faith and truly hate all sin, not just to become a “good” Catholic but to truly strive for perfection–to “stop sinning” (1 Corinthians 15:34), as God commands, we look for ways to escape our due punishment and have our sins forgiven so to obtain Eternal Life the “easy way.”
But I tell you, there isn’t an “easy way” to obtain forgiveness/Eternal Life. Only the path the saints traveled is The Way. Truly, there is only ONE WAY. The way the saints have traveled. Oh, there are many ways to get there, but One Way…and the saints have found it. We must do what they have done.
There is unfathomable help from God to help us grow in faith, if we really want it and if we go to the sacraments with humble contrite hearts to receive it, but there are no “get out of jail for free cards.” We must work hard and grow in faith to gain humility and TRULY come to hate each and every sin we have ever committed (truly love God), like the saints, if we want true sorrow for our sins, so we can embrace forgiving mercy to Live. God wants us in Heaven, but He gives us a free will to choose Him and His helping grace to save us or not.
Truly, there are no “free passes” to salvation. Obtaining a saving faith is HARD; “the road hard that leads to Life” (Matthew 7:14), and it takes much grace to get there…grace, we should be spending our lives trying to obtain by following Christ (working to live like Him-obeying Him), seeking God’s mercy over and over again to come to truly hate the world and our sins and grow into a saving faith.
This should be our entire life’s goal. WE MUST HAVE A SAVING FAITH–Eternity is everything! We need a faith that can accept God’s saving forgiving mercy–a faith that hates sin so greatly, we would rather “suffer death than sin” (have True Sorrow) as the Catechism teaches is necessary to have a contrition which can obtain Eternal Life.
Please understand, we don’t have this saving faith the instant we recognize Jesus as Lord or even after our baptism. We must “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) into a saving faith; please don’t be deceived.
As a last resort for grace, we are to run to the fantastic Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick….however, this shouldn’t be our first or only source of obtaining grace even if we are dying. To learn more please read, “How to Save the Soul of Someone Dying.”
Please understand, simply confessing our sins doesn’t ensure perfect forgiveness either. We can confess how we are horribly sorry for some great offence we have committed and rather suffer anything than offend God again by that sin, which is good, but we still must grow in faith to have that same true contrition for ALL of our sins–honestly wanting to become a perfect self-sacrificing saint. Actually there are many ways we can reject forgiving mercy from confession. To learn more please read, “How Can Bad Confession Damn Us.”
Who Can Receive This Sacrament
Like I said, to receive all the fantastic grace this sacrament does give, which can be a lot, to help move our souls to Life, it must be administered properly. To ensure proper reception of this sacrament, the Church has established laws tell us who can and can not receive.
Let’s start with who can receive this sacrament. They must possess ALL of the follow:
- be alive,
- be a baptized Catholic (exceptions can be made),
- be sick,
- be in danger of death (even old age or at the point of death and in case of doubt if someone is dead (Cannon Law 1005),
- be working to stop obvious serious sin (Cannon Law 1007),
- and participated in the Sacrament of Penance (if possible) (CCC 1517) .
Again, this sacrament is not to be received unless necessary as someone MUST BE seriously sick or greatly aging. Like I said, anointing of the sick is not a “healing sacrament” to be give out to someone looking to be cured from a sickness/cross that isn’t deadly, even though God can heal through this sacrament.
“Extreme Unction, then, can be administered to no one who is not dangerously sick [in danger of death]?”
–Catechism of the Catholic Church Counsel of Trent
Furthermore, to not act outside of moderation, someone doesn’t have to be literally at deaths door to receive this sacrament. “Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived” (CCC # 1514).
Plus, anointing of the sick can also be repeated as many times as needed throughout one’s life if the seriously sick person recovers or if their condition worsens. “If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated” (CCC #1515).
Important – Who Shouldn’t Receive the Sacrament
This is one of the most important sections of this article, since anointing of the sick–which is part of the last rites–and is meant to move someone in faith from some faith into a saving faith for their passing forth from this life into the arms of Jesus, and there are specific laws to follow to see we give the greatest help to souls who need it.
To continue further with these laws, I want to start with saying, anointing of the sick shouldn’t be administered to someone outside of the age of reason, who is to young to know right from wrong, or if someone, since their time of birth, was not able to obtain “full knowledge” of right from wrong. They are still without true sin and are not needing the sacrament to help move them into perfect contrition (true sorrow) at the moment of their death, since they have nothing to forgive and are saved (if they have been baptized).
People without ever having “full knowledge” of right from wrong, like with the mentally handicapped or very young children, are already living saints “having committed no sins, [therefore] do not need the sacrament as a remedy against the remains of sin” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Counsel of Trent). However, if there is doubt of someone’s mental faculties ever gaining full knowledge then receiving the sacrament is best, if they are at risk of death.
However, please understand, if someone doesn’t heeding the warning of The Word and the Church and is not truly resolved to amend all their sinful ways, working to become a true saint, they should NOT receive this sacrament either…not without making a sincere confession (Cannon Law 1007). This is the greatest law that will help lead souls to Life…especially during today’s great time of darkness.
It is true, we can’t judge if God’s grace has moved someone into the state of true sorrow–perfect contrition–for any or all sin even if we see someone, without reservation, who still continues in their sinful ways until death, because at any moment–even at the instant of death–God’s fantastic grace can perform miracles in the heart.
However, we can recognize if someone is with a saving faith or even wants a saving faith by our actions. We can recognize obvious habitual sin and what appears to be a lack of desire to amend them…if we continue in them without change.
Therefore, to administer this sacrament properly, if someone is conscience, we should ask them if they have spent their life being truly resolved to not offend God even in the slightest way, working to leave the pleasures of the world and to become a real self-sacrificing saint, so to put their heart on God and desire Him as their source of happiness, as God has commanded of them to do through out their life. Yes, we and they need to know if they have been truly resolved to “sin no more” as the Word and the Cathechism say we must do to be outside of grave sin? (cf. CCC#1451)
And if they respond, “No. I didn’t know I needed to.” Then we can say, “Well, everyone should know we are supposed to spend our lives trying to not offend God–working hard to stop offending Him…seeking to become a real saint, not to stay a sinner. Before I can administer this sacrament, if it is going to have any benefit for you, you must make a sincere confession telling God how horribly sorry you are for not spending your life living for Him nor honestly working to not offend Him. You need to humble yourself as greatly as possible and confess all grave mortal sins you have not sincerely confessed in the past with true sorrow–which is having a heart that would rather suffer anything even torture than offend God by again by that sin, if you wish to receive the anointing of the sick worthily and obtain some grace.”
If this sacrament is given to someone who perseveres obstinately in any grave sin–like not being truly resolved to even stop offending God–then they will only reject the grace from this sacrament and be accountable for the Precious Blood of Jesus they allow to fall to the floor, causing greater condemnation upon their souls. We don’t want this to happen. We won’t be helping to save them, but rather this sacrament will actually greatly hurt their hope for salvation and create greater eternal punishment (from the rejection of grace).
“Anointing of the sick is not to be conferred [given] upon those who persevere obstinately in manifest grave sin [refuse to stop obvious grave sin]” (Canon Law #1007).
The reason a person, who didn’t truly strive to live the faith, is to be denied anointing of the sick is not because we don’t want them to receive grace from God to help move their souls to Life; it is because, like I said, receiving the sacrament won’t benefit them.
By far, if someone refuses to humbly confess, the greatest good is to tell them, that their crimes against God are so great and their lack of contrition (not wanting to repent/amend) is so profound that they don’t merit the sacrament of the sick, so at least at from fear (you now gave them) at the moment of death, they might have a chance to see the seriousness of their sinfulness, from the fear of the Lord you just gave them. Then they can beg God for mercy and become a truly sincere penitent and be saved by their perfect contrition…instead of hoping mercy will save them from the anointing, being blindly mislead; when they will most likely still lack true/perfect sorrow and reject saving mercy from their hardened heart of unrepentant sin and choose an eternity in the torments of Hell.
Please understand, since most souls today, even the “faithful”, only desire to partially live the faith, and DON’T HONESTLY WORK TO STOP SINNING–since we are living for worldly goals: money, entertainment, sexual gratification, success, family, friends…what ever it is, and habitually keep on sinning and are not truly seeking to become a real self-sacrificing saint–but actually choose to live in mortal sin–therefore, most souls should be denied the anointing of the sick and told why, to give them a real REASON TO FEAR and desire to seek mercy so to sincerely repent (confess) before administering this sacrament. This is the law of the Church. This is what saves. Don’t worry about offending someone, worry about saving their life. Worry about what GOD has called us to do, and do it.
To learn more please read the article, “How to Save the Soul of Someone Dying.”
Must Be Properly Administered – with Communion
Those aren’t the only rules to help save souls. If a person meeting the above requirements is conscious and of sound mind or not in an immediate fear of death–and has a moment to confess and/or receive Holy Eucharist before dying–then, it is a GRAVE ERROR that someone is only administered Extreme Unction (anointing of the sick) without having the sacrament of penance (confession) first and receiving the Holy Eucharist (Communion) after.
The Church teaches, “All care should be taken that nothing impede the grace of the sacrament [of Extreme Unction], and as nothing is more opposed to it [nothing rejects grace more] than the consciousness of mortal guilt, the constant practice of the Catholic Church must be observed of administering the sacrament of penance and the Eucharist before Extreme Unction” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Counsel of Trent).
Horribly, today, for most, the devil has removed our guilt for our mortal crimes against God. Therefore, we, God’s disciples and shepards, need to bring to the forefront of our consciences what is in fact gravely sinful, so we don’t die blindly guilty of mortal sin.
We need ALL of the sacraments of the "last rites" and their combined grace to help move our souls into obtaining a truly humble contrite heart, at the moment of death, so we can accept God's saving mercy and Live. This is very important. Eternity is forever!
With that said, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which provides us with the teachings of the faith Christ gave us as the Way to Eternal Life, has grown in wisdom since the beginning of Christianity and continues to grow. God has not given all wisdom of the faith at any one time in history, and has intentionally held back some truths until He finds fit to enlighten our understanding.
The entire Word is a beautiful story of God’s revelation to man of His truths over time and that revelation is still expanding with the passing of time. Through divine revelation, we have seen the faith grow in understanding of its fantastic mysteries. Wonderfully, each version of the Catechism (authored by the saints) compliments the others and helps us to understand the faith more clearly.
However, if we find the most current Catechism has a fact of the faith that has grown into a broader understanding of God’s truth, we confer to the most recent Catechism’s directions to follow. Even though the Catechism of the Counsel of Trent says both penance and the Eucharist need to be administered before the sacrament of the sick. Pope St. John Paul II, who authored the current Catechism, was enlightened to the necessity of having the Eucharist administered (if possible) as the last sacrament to be received in the “last rites.”
The Holy Eucharist is our hope for Eternal Life, for those who truly believe (love God enough to sincerely desire to hate their sin so to embrace His mercy). But the most important fact to remember still remains that CONFESSION MUST PROCEED ANOINTING OF THE SICK OR THE HOLY EUCHARIST, if that is at all possible, for the greatest benefit of grace from the anointing of the sick or the Holy Eucharist.
Frankly, if known mortal sin is present in one’s conscious or if someone doesn’t work to stop offending God with any of their sins (doesn’t seek to truly love God–to stop sinning–to live the faith), they are guilty of mortal desire, and they shouldn’t receive any sacrament until they confess with true sorrow (to the best of their understanding) in the sacrament of reconciliation and are now firmly resolved to change. To learn more please read “What Sins Can I Still Commit and Receive Holy Communion” since the understanding of how to worthily receive Holy Communion is lost for most too.
“The sacrament of Christ’s Passover the Eucharist should always be the last sacrament of the earthly journey, the “viaticum” for “passing over” to eternal life”‘ (CCC #1517).
When someone receives this sacrament or any sacrament unworthily, they allow God’s Precious Blood to fall to the floor…meaning, they don’t accept God’s mercy (grace). When we do that, we are accountable for that grace we reject and our condemnation is now increased.
Jesus Can Save Us at Our Death
But with that said, we should never assume someone is unworthy no matter how sinful of a life they have led and choose to not administer this sacrament to anyone if they have met the above requirements or even if they are unconscious…since we don’t know what occurs in a soul moments before someone loses consciousness…perhaps humility and fear could have been obtained. Of course, the greatest good is to confess first, as that undoubtedly helps souls the most, but if that isn’t possible, administering the anointing of the sick even when someone isn’t conscious is best.
This sacrament is very powerful in moving even the worst of sinners to Life. This is why Mercy came into the world–to save the humble contrite heart.
Even if we have rejected God throughout our entire lives, Jesus can still transform our hard hearts, who still desire many sins and pleasures of the world instead of Him, into hearts of true love for Him (true hatred for our sin) so we can embrace Him and not our sins to save us at the moment of our death.
But please don’t be deceived, for most it takes a life time to get to this kind of faith, since we reject so much grace, but it is possible…but quite rare.
If we are nourished with The Truth and given fear of the Lord (fear of sin and its consequences) we can run to God for mercy, with great fear of our pending eternal doom and with a horror for sins and great humility (knowing our great sinfulness/need for mercy) and accept enough grace to accept God’s actual/transforming grace and then move from servile fear (fear of our doom) into filial fear (fear of offending God whom we should have spent our lives loving) and embrace continuous perfect contrition so to welcome God’s saving forgiving mercy into our souls for the gift of Eternal Life.
This transformation from no fear, to fearing of our impending doom, to fearing loosing God whom we have offended greatly must happen. But most tragically, most don’t preach this truth that people must hear to help save them…we want people to die a “happy” BLIND deaths…which doesn’t really love them at all, but tragically kills them for eternity. The devil has scared and tricked us into silence. To learn more please read, “How to Save the Soul of the Dying.”
“By your hard and impenitent heart [who still clings to sin] you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath [judgement], when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5).
This is because, we live in a time of great darkness and suffer from the presumption of salvation and see no problem with many of our crimes against God…believing mercy will save us, when we aren’t even truly sorry for offending God.
Horribly, most have wasted our entire lives, not seeking God’s help, from being deceived and are losing it all. This is very important to understand as tragically many souls don’t have the faith necessary to be saved at the hour of our death and are relying on the anointing of the sick in vain.
How an Unconscious Person is Helped from Anointing of the Sick
God does have great mercy on us and if there is in fact someone, who lost consciousness or the ability to confess their sin, or there isn’t a moment to confess before one’s eminent death, but they have grown in faith and are truly with at least, imperfect contrition (servile fear–sorrow so great for offending God that they would rather suffer anything even death than sin the slightest sin because they greatly fear God’s punishments) in their hearts prior to receiving the anointing of the sick, then from the power God’s gives His priests, God’s healing forgiving power that comes forth from their sacred hands and can enter into the dying’s soul forgiving them of their sins (even mortal sin) and restores them to Life. Wow!
Yes, this sacrament forgives us of our sins…if we possess at least imperfect contrition.
Now, if they don’t regain consciences, and they die, they will die in the state of grace and be saved. Praise God!
However, please understand, this is the only way the sacrament of the sick can directly save a soul, which is very rare…as someone must have great faith/great contrition prior to reception. But if we have contrition or attrition for some of our sins, when receiving anointing of the sick, it will forgive us of those sins too…but to be saved, by the anointing of the sick, this kind of contrition/attrition must be present for all of our sins.
For this to occur, someone must have advanced in faith greatly–received great grace–so to obtain such a great horror for sin, from fear of the Lord, which caused them to become terrified of the eternal death or any punishment from God which is due to them because of their life time of uncountable sins (they gained imperfect contrition/attrition for ALL sin) and if they were to live they would prefer torment rather then offend God again.
Having imperfect contrition only forgives us of the sins in which we have imperfect contrition for during confession to a priest or through anointing of the sick, if we can’t confess. So, the instant after absolution, if we are conscience and have full knowledge and a free will to sin, we will fall right outside of our state of grace instantly, because we still love ourselves over God…which is a mortal desire.
That is why imperfect contrition isn’t called “contrition” but rather attrition (not true contrition).
For those who desire Eternal Life, a pure love, prescinding from themselves, is necessary, for it is not enough for eternal life to fly sin from fear of punishment [servile fear]…Sin should be abandoned because it is displeasing to Me [filial fear]…It is true that, generally speaking, every person is first called in this way [of servile fear], but this is because the soul herself is at first imperfect, from which imperfection she must advance to perfection [in sorrow/fear], either while she lives, by a generous love to Me with a pure and virtuous heart that takes no thought for herself, or, at least, in the moment of death”
–God the Father to St. Catherine of Siena
This form of contrition–servile fear/fear of death–even if it is for all of our sins, still refuses God’s saving mercy at the instant of our death, since the moment we leave the confessional (unless the graces received from confession advances us into continuious true contrition) we will fall right back outside of saving grace from still loving ourselves over God -idolatry. To learn more please read, “What is God’s Mercy and How Can I Obtain It.”
To be saved at the moment of death (when no priest is around in our last thoughts) our contrition must grow and become perfect (loving God above ourselves–dread that we spent our lives living for ourselves and not truly loving Him) and stay in that state or we still reject saving mercy for self-love.
Nonetheless, to get to this kind of sorrow/faith, anointing of the sick sends much grace as is written in the Catechism of St. Pius X “The sacrament of Extreme Unction produces the following effects”
- “It increases sanctifying grace [increases ones love for God so to purify their soul of the consequence of sin (atones for sin for those who are in the state of grace–makes saints)];
- It remits venial sins, and also mortal sins which the sick person, if contrite, is unable to confess;
- It takes away weakness and sloth which remain even after pardon has been obtained [helps move souls into continuous perfect contrition/hatred for sin and removes the stain of sin];
- It gives strength to bear illness patiently, to withstand temptation and to die holily [sends helping grace to help us love the cross, grow in faith, resist sin and save souls];
- It aids in restoring us to health of body if it is for the good of the soul [to heal us if it helps the soul to move towards obtaining Eternal Life].”
Anointing Sends Great Grace
Even though, anointing of the sick, for the most part, does not directly forgive mortal sin nor restore most of our souls to Life (a state of grace), since we lack the contrition in our hearts to accept God’s grace, but as we can see from what is written above, it does have a magnitude of benefits for the soul.
Anointing of the Sick sends MUCH GRACE to help souls, who want a saving faith and sanctity.
Anointing of the sick doesn’t force contrition or grace upon anyone either. From our free will we have to accept it if we are to receive the fantastic benefits this sacrament holds.
But we must understand, even if we haven’t been seeking Our Savior to take away our sins throughout our life, anointing of the sick can still–if someone seeks contrition/forgiveness–from a heart that can receive His mercy, greatly help move us into a saving faith by sending much grace to hopefully soften our hearts enough to obtain the great grace we need to at least truly detest all of our sins at the moment of our death and be saved.
So there is always hope, but we must receive this sacrament properly or it can cause more harm than good.
Anointing of the sick can forgive venial sins, that is, if we grow in faith to obtain at least imperfect contrition for them and even mortal sins, but only for mortal sin, if we are incapable of confessing to a priest and of course have at least imperfect contrition for the sin. Anointing of the sick only forgives the sins we have obtained imperfect contrition for. The sins we haven’t grown in faith to obtain such sorrow, we are still not forgiven.
This forgiveness is fantastic because every sin we are forgiven of, sends wonderful grace to help move our souls into the state of continuous perfect contrition for ALL of our sins so we can accept God’s complete saving forgiving mercy at the moment of our death for the salvation of our souls.
Therefore, it is possible that the blessings from the sacrament of anointing can result in the true conversion of one’s heart from death to Life.
This sorrow we need to be forgiven can be obtained either through the grace anointing of the sick sends to move our hearts into a state of forgivable contrition for some or all of our sins or if someone had at least imperfect contrition for any of their sins prior to receiving the sacrament.
“Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him [for grace to be sent for the forgiveness of sin] and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person [if he accepts God’s saving forgiving mercy], and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins [and has forgivable sorrow], he will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15).
However, we need to grow a lot, into a true belief in God, a belief that believes so greatly that Jesus is Lord that we truly reject every sin for Him. Therefore, we need much grace to believe in God so perfectly that we truly hate each and every offence ever committed against Our Creator and want to serve/love Him perfectly at all moments of our life, wanting His will and not our own, because we can’t love both God and sin. “He will either hate one and love the other” (Matthew 6:24).
Anointing of the Sick, for most of us, like I explained, does not forgive mortal sin nor restore a soul to Life directly, since for most we lack the contrition to be forgiven, but according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1532 the sacrament of anointing of the sick sends the following special graces so we can obtain a saving faith (continuous perfect contrition for all sin) by:
- “the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good [help him towards salvation] and that of the whole Church;
- the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age [so to follow Christ by way of the cross and obtain the grace given to souls who peacefully trust in God’s will (what ever He allows to happen as the greatest means towards salvation)];
- the forgiveness of sins [if perfect or imperfect contrition is present in the sick person’s soul], 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 [since much of the time our suffering has the greatest potential to send the most grace for Life];
- the preparation [the sending of grace to help us] for passing over to eternal life.”
To gain this passing over to Eternal Life, we need to not only run to God through the sacraments of the last rites to prepare our souls, but throughout our life, in preparation for our death, we need to be moved step by step by God, receiving grace after grace especially from God’s sacraments and from great humble prayer mainly in the sacrament of reconciliation and through the Holy Eucharist (for those who truly desire to stop sinning) and from all of the other blessings God sends us to help move our souls into a state of grace, so when our hour comes we are ready. Eternity is forever!
Special Graces of Anointing of the Sick
As I spoke about, anointing of the sick has many benefits, like those mentioned above for those who can receive it. The most important being that of HELPING SOULS, by sending them additional grace, to move them into gaining true contrition for all of their sins so they can accept God’s saving forgiveness at the moment of death.
But on top of that, it also helps move souls, already advanced in faith with true contrition for every sin, into such a great love for God and a hatred of sin, it can result in the removal of their consequences of sin (removal of their suffering in Purgatory-atones for sins).
Therefore, this sacrament helps save souls and helps to make saints. But it is only to be given to those who have sinned and are sick in the danger of death and even more promising for those who make a very humble contrite confession for our life time of sins.
Many Wrongly Encourage and Teach the Sacrament
As I said, sadly the devil has deceived many causing others, out of misguided love, to temp us into partaking in this sacrament or have us encourage others to partake in it when according to the rules of the faith, we don’t fit the criteria for receiving.
“There will be false teachers among you [in the Church]” (2 Peter 2:1)
Please remember doing something bad (like ignoring the rules of the Church) never equals good. We might not understand why the Church has any of its rules and regulations, but we must understand that they are meant to help lead us to Life and God expects us to be obedient to His Church. That is the greatest good.
When received correctly, this anointing of the sick provides fantastic grace, but it must be administered properly. From humility, we need to submit to the Holy Mother Church and its wisdom as being greater than ours and not participate even if everyone else around us is. If we know the truth, we need to obey. That is where grace is found. It is the truth that saves. We don’t have to agree or understand why the rules exist, all God calls us to do is trust and obey.
Anointing of the sick is not a healing sacrament for those with imperfections in life. This sacrament can heal, but it is for those in “danger [of death] due to sickness or old age” (Cannon Law 1004). That is why it is known as part of the “last rites.” There are certain stipulations that need to be met in order for someone to receive it, and if we love the Church and believe it is the Way, we will humbly submit to its teachings…and not teach or live our own doctrine.
Must See Our Sins
Sadly most of us refuse to even see our sins because we have such a strong liking for them, but we can’t truly hate our sins if we are covering them. Therefore, we must make a daily effort to seek God’s enlightening grace to come to know our offences.
By examining our conscience and partaking in the sacrament of reconciliation (penance), we will come to see since “grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts” (CCC #1848).
Then after we are aware of some of our sins, our great sorrow for them should impel us to work wholeheartedly daily towards stopping them. Then God will enlighten us to more and we will grow even more in true faith and hopefully into truly hating all of them.
Must Want to Stop All Sins Out of Fear of the Lord and Seek to be Perfect
Those who truly love God literally work daily to stop sinning. Their goal is perfection (resolved to stop all sin)…to live for God’s will not for all of the worldly goals they used to have. They want to become a saint and have changed their life to achieve that goal, which helps them grow in contrition and hopefully into a truly contrite heart for all of their sins for the salvation of their souls.
“Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place [since it is needed to be saved]. Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again [seeking to become a saint–someone who truly doesn’t want to sin again].” (CCC #1451).
Having a truly contrite heart for All of our sin–having a true love for God–is very hard to obtain, since from our human nature, we desire (aren’t working to stop) many sins. We delight in them. We like the power they give, the relaxation they provide, the indulging pleasure they send, and the praise/pride they give us…oh, we like sin. Truly, the little sins count too. Is it OK to hurt our God even a little?
As a result of our lukewarm faith (lack of true effort to stop sinning), we lack a truly contrite heart for many sins. Tragically so many of us reject God’s saving mercy and don’t even know it. But things can change if we understand the truth that not being sorry for just one sin (being ok with offending God in any way–mortal or venial) and rejects it all. We must love God enough to hate all of our sins. To learn more please read “The Lack of True Sorrow for One Sin Rejects Eternal Life.”
“It is certain that few are saved” –St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church
Perfect Contrition is Needed to Be Saved
If our goal is to sneak or cheat our way into Heaven, I can assure you, that isn’t going to happen. We will reap what we sow. That isn’t the attitude of someone who loves God but of someone who wants to take God’s love and love themselves instead. The sacraments are supposed to help those who honestly seek God’s mercy (with at least some faith–some real love of God) to obtain enough grace to gain the truly humble contrite heart (perfect contrition/filial fear of God/the healing of our soul) that we need so to accept God’s saving grace without the assistance of the priest in the sacrament of reconciliation–like will happen upon the moment of our death.
Even if we waited until the very last minute of our life to be baptized, hoping God’s saving grace would save us, out of fear loosing grace and suffering in Hell (imperfect contrition), we will still not be saved. This is because we didn’t seek God’s mercy from the love of Him and contrition for offending Him (perfect contrition). We sought it out of fear of our own death…self-love (imperfect contrition). And loving ourselves above God is still a form of idolatry.
Without perfect contrition, the moment after were are baptized or even the moment after we confessed our sins to a priest with imperfect contrition (attrition-not quite contrition) for all of our sins and had saving grace restored from God’s mercy that pours from God’s sacred priests’ hands, our souls would still fall immediately back into the state of death–lose saving grace–(unless we don’t have full knowledge of right from wrong), since being more concerned about our suffering in Hell over the fact that we have spent our life offending God by our sins, whom we should be loving, is a mortal desire and rejects God’s saving grace.
“For those who desire Eternal Life, a pure love detached from themselves [no self-love] is necessary, for it is not enough for eternal life to fly [away from] sin from fear of punishment [imperfect contrition]…Sin should be abandoned because it is displeasing to me [perfect contrition].”
God the Father to St. Catherine of Sienna, Doctor of the Church
- Perfect contrition: sorrow derived from love of God.
- Imperfect contrition: sorrow derived from love of self (not wanting to be punished).
- False contrition: sorrow derived from worldly reasons that produced guilt.
- Some (real) contrition: some sorrow that can receive helping grace…just not enough to become perfect or imperfect contrition, which can receive forgiviness.
We must grow from some contrition, to imperfect contrition, and then into perfect contrition not just for some sins but for all of them so we can hate our sins because they offend God more than any other reason if we wish to have a heart that can accept God’s saving forgiving mercy and live. And a life time of prayer and works, fasting and sacrificing along with the sacraments of the last rites can bring us to this saving faith at the moment of death if we haven’t obtained it and maintained it during our life.
Save the Dying
Since most souls are without being in the state of grace, from a lack of true contrition for all sin, mostly because of a lack of encouragement to seek God’s mercy to live the faith and lack of proper education to the great need for such sorrow through out our life, we need to give the sick a real true understanding of the consequence of unrepentant sin and the unfathomable need to implore God’s merciful help for a truly contrite heart so the sick can run to God begging for His grace and receive it.
The TRUTH–to give a soul fear of the Lord (fear of sin and its consequences), combined with the sacrament of the last rites, and prayers of the faithful: the Mother of God, the saints and angels–can help move souls into a saving faith.
The sacrament of confession is most beneficial as it is the sacrament God gave us to help us remove sin. If forgiveness of all sin is received through the sacrament of reconciliation and saving grace is restored, even if that magnificent grace–the healing of our soul–is only restored for a moment and is lost immediately after confession from a lack of continuous perfect contrition–the magnitude of grace that was delivered to sick from penance and then followed by the bountiful grace in the anointing of the sick and the fantastic grace in the Holy Eucharist, will even more greatly work towards souls being able to obtain continuous perfect contrition and accept God’s saving forgiving grace at the moment of their death.
Truly, God working through each sacrament of the last rites, through the dying’s life time of merits (what ever grace is deserved from their life actions) and through the fervent prayers of all, can move souls into the state of true (perfect) contrition at the moment of our death for our Eternal Life. What a merciful blessing that awaits us! Lets run to God so we can utilize all the grace that He has waiting to save our souls.
God Loves Us–Run to Him
God loves us so much and from that love He has sent us an enormity of grace from His mercy to move us into gaining true sorrow for each and every sin (into a saving faith) at the hour of our death, but we have to really want it and open up our hearts to receive it. God wants us in Heaven but like I said, He gives us a free will to choose Him or not.
God is waiting for us to use the blessings He has given to us to help save our souls. From His great love, there are a magnitude of them. To save souls encourage others to receive His sacraments of love and combined with others prayer: especially the Mass, seeking Mother Mary’s help, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and other devotions along with choosing great suffering and sacrificing for those in danger of death or even for those who want to someday be saved. We can help send additional grace to those who need it the most.
Truly, God can work through us and His priests to save the souls of God’s beloved children. These “last rites” when administered correctly are God’s bountiful gift of mercy, and should never be intentionally omitted.
“The sacrament of Extreme Unction, which by the Fathers was regarded as being the completion, not only of penance, but also of the whole Christian life, which ought to be a perpetual penance [continuous perfect contrition from the great sorrow for our sins]” (Counsel of Trent)