Anointing of the Sick
THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD SACRAMENT
Confusion in the Faith
Anointing of the sick is a wonderful gift from God to help move our souls, through grace, into obtaining the true contrition (true sorrow) for all of our sins we must have to accept God’s saving forgiving mercy for the gift of Eternal Life.
However, unlike popular thinking–from great confusion in the faith today–most don’t understand that only those in danger of death can receive this sacrament (Canon Law #1004).
Also, to obey the teachings of the Church and for the greatest grace to help a soul obtain salvation, if at all possible before someone’s death, a humble contrite confession must to be made before receiving anointing of the sick (CCC #1517).
Furthermore, for the most part, anointing of the sick doesn’t forgive mortal sin as I explain in this article:
“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
When We Do Bad, Thinking It is Good
Sadly, many times the evil one uses our pride to convince us the greater good is disobedience to the Church, because we have been convinced this anointing sacrament is a “healing” sacrament for anyone who wants it…since it does heal.
Then, we firmly believe, out of misguided love, administering this sacrament against the teaching of the Church–through sin–is in fact good.
But 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!
We must humbly submit to the wisdom of the Church and our call to obedience, regardless of how we feel, and follow the examples of perfect obedience the saints have given to us if we wish real good to happen.
Actually, incorrectly administering this sacraments misguides God’s children as to what is really needed to obtain Salvation, which is a truly contrite heart for each and every sin ever committed. As a result, it robs souls of fear of the Lord (fear of sin and its consequences) and grace by making them lukewarm and not concerned with their Eternal Life.
Then, they don’t approach God correctly–humbly–for mercy (help) to move them from some faith into a true saving faith…also, as I explain in this article, it can actually cause greater condemnation upon their souls.
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 possible), so it can benefit them wonderfully for the salvation of their souls.
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 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 so to live for His will alone.
This abuse of God’s mercy–wanting forgiveness without even being truly sorry for our sins–many have been sucked into believing, takes away the fear of the Lord we need to come to know our sinfulness (gain humility) and removes our desire to amend our ways towards perfection.
Then instead of working to live the faith, not just to become a “good” Catholic but truly striving for perfection, as God commands, we look for ways we can 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. Many ways to get there, but One Way.
There is unfathomable help from God to help us grow in faith, but there are no “get out of jail for free cards.” God wants us in Heaven, but He gives us a free will to choose Him and His helping grace to save us or not.
Must Have TRUE Sorrow to be Forgiven
Forgiveness (saving grace) is received into those who grow in faith to obtain a TRULY sorrowful heart for ALL of ours offences ever committed against our Creator. This point can’t be stressed enough as it seems to be lost in modern thinking.
There are many ways we lack true sorrow. The greatest being our lack of sincere effort to stop all of our sins…horribly, we are complacent with many and habitually commit them. To learn more please read, “What is True Sorrow.”
Many feel we have converted enough…that we are good enough, and so the devil uses our pride to convince us we are with true contrition/a saving faith, when we are far from having a real horror for each and every sin…especially our venial ones.
“They [the lost] do not consider that the least little sin a man finds delight [doesn’t truly hate/lacks contrition for] is enough to damn him to an eternal torment.”
–The Queen of Heaven to St. Bridget of Sweden
If at our death we aren’t horrified over our vast sins–moral and venial–we have committed against Our Beloved Lord with a sorrow so great we would rather suffer any pain than offend Him again in the slightest way and possess a sincere desire to change our entire life–to give up all of the pleasures of the world we desire instead of Him and His will (our idols)–to truly love and desire Him alone so to embrace His will and not our own, that is if we had another moment to live, then we reject His saving mercy for some wretched sin. To learn more please read, “How to Hate the Word and Live for Heaven.”
Truly, there are no “free passes” to salvation. We should be spending our lives following Christ (working to live like Him-obeying Him), seeking God’s mercy over and over again to come to truly hate our sins and grow into a saving faith.
This should be our entire life’s goal. WE MUST HAVE A SAVING FAITH–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, and as the saints say, this is hard to obtain.
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. To learn more, please visit the home page of this web-site.
“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
Blindness to Mortal Sin
Tragically, most suffer from such horrible blindness to The Way, that from not spending our life seeking our Savior for grace (help) to grow in faith, we lack knowledge of The Way and the saving faith we need to Live.
“‘Lord, will only a few people be saved?’ He [Jesus] answered them…many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough [for they lack a saving faith].”(Luke 13:23).
This contrition, that accepts God’s saving mercy, is hard to obtain since we love our sins so much we don’t desire to know them nor truly seek to stop many of our trespasses against God. Daily, we should be running to Our Savior for grace after grace to learn how to reject what we love…sin. But we don’t.
Every sin we aren’t wholehearted resolved to amend–every sin we don’t seek God’s grace to strengthen us to remove nor make resolutions so to stop offending God–no matter what it is, mortal or venial, is a sin which we lack true contrition for. It is now mortal.
Sins that reject saving mercy are much more complicated than most understand. But truly it is an abomination of love to not be sorry for offending God in the slightest way. To learn more please read, “What are the Mortal Sins.”
“[A] venial [sin]…becomes mortal,” when someone “fix[es] one’s end in that venial sin [isn’t truly resolved to amend]”
–St. Aquinas, Doctor of the Church
Confessions that Receive Saving Grace
Therefore, we can confess how we are horribly sorry for some great offence we have committed and that is good, but we still must grow in faith to have that same true contrition for ALL of our sins.
We must detest every one of our sins and be truly resolved to stop all of them seeking to never commit them again, with a truly humble contrite heart (honestly working to become a perfect self-sacrificing saint). But most aren’t.
If we think about it, honestly, how can we be truly sorry for any sin if we aren’t even working to stop it?
Yet, the devil has greatly deceived us, blinding us from our pride, convincing us we are “good” people and saved. But we aren’t saved by any “good” we do; we are saved by Jesus’ saving grace and lost by rejecting that grace with just one unrepented sin.
Sadly, in our daily life most are not resolved nor wholeheartedly working to amend our sins, as we aren’t running to God daily for the grace, making resolutions and changing so to stop offending God.
We have become complacent with sinning. The devil has us blindly hoping this sacrament will save us, so we don’t seek Our Savior during our life or even at the moment of death to obtain a faith which can save. To learn more please read, “How Can Bad Confession Damn Us.”
Jesus Can Save Us at Our Death
Jesus can 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.
For most it takes a life time to get to this kind of faith, but it is possible, yet rare, for this to occur at the moment of death.
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 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 embrace continuous perfect contrition so to welcome God’s saving forgiving mercy into our souls for the gift of Eternal Life.
But most tragically, most don’t preach the 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. 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).
Horribly, God’s transforming grace is right here, but we don’t correctly go to Him and sadly repeatedly commit many many of our sins–from our lack of effort to amend…then rejecting His saving forgiving grace even up to our death.
Tragically, we 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.
As a result, we reject God’s saving mercy from each of those habitual sins, because we simply don’t hate that offence against God enough to work hard–seek God’s transforming grace–to amend it and horribly, we choose eternal suffering to stay in that miserable sin instead.
Horribly, most have wasted our entire life, 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.
Anointing Sends Great Grace
Even though, anointing of the sick, for the most part, doesn’t directly forgive mortal sin nor restore most of our souls to Life, as I said, we must know, it does have a magnitude of benefits for the soul.
Anointing of the Sick sends MUCH GRACE (as is explain more fully later in this article) to help souls, who want a saving faith. But, in general, like I said, it doesn’t directly forgive mortal sin nor restore our souls to Life.
Yet, anointing of the sick doesn’t force contrition or grace upon anyone either. From our free will we must reject all sin and choose God’s grace.
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.
So there is always hope, but we must receive this sacrament properly or it can cause more harm than good.
Who Can Receive This Sacrament
To receive all the fantastic grace this sacrament does give to help move our souls to Life, it must be administered properly.
For someone to 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).
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. See more below.
“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).
Who Shouldn’t Receive the Sacrament
Anointing of the sick–which is part of the last rites–no matter how well intentioned we might be, shouldn’t be given to someone not in danger of death as I said above. To learn more please read, “Misguided Love.”
It also 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 the 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.
If someone chooses to live life, not heeding the warning of the Word, not seeking to amend their sinful ways, they shouldn’t receive the sacrament either. 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, still continuing in their sinful ways, because at any moment God’s fantastic grace can perform miracles in the heart.
However, we can recognize sometimes if someone is with a saving faith or even wants a saving faith by their actions. We can recognize obvious habitual sin. And when we see someone who continues in their sins day after day, and doesn’t do what is necessary to work towards stopping their offences against God, they don’t have a saving faith nor are they seeking one–since a lack of effort to amend is proof of a lack of true contrition (cf. CCC#1451)–especially if they are told they must amend their ways.
Therefore, when someone refuses to stop obvious serious grave sin (like not seeking to stop sinning), then anointing of the sick is not to be given to them unworthily. It won’t help them, but rather it will actually more greatly hurt their hope for salvation and cause further condemnation, for they will be accountable for the Precious Blood of Jesus that they will reject from the sacrament. Therefore by giving the sacrament unworthily, we are actually hurting souls, not saving them. To learn more please read “Who Suffers Most Hell” and “What Are the Mortal Sins” as they are more than most understand.
“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 refuses to amend their ways, 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, the greatest good is to tell someone dying, who refuses to work hard to stop their sins, that their crime against God is so great and their life time of lacking contrition (not wanting to amend) is so profound that they don’t merit the sacrament of the sick, so at least at the moment of death, they will have a chance to see the seriousness of their sinfulness, beg God for mercy, and become a true sincere penitent (someone confessing their sins with true sorrow) and be saved by their true contrition…instead of hoping mercy will save them, when they will most likely still lack true sorrow and reject saving mercy.
To learn more please read the article, “How to Save the Soul of Someone Dying.”
Must Be Properly Administered
If a person meeting the above requirements is conscious and of sound mind or not in an immediate fear of death–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).
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).
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. 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 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 conscience 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), they are guilty of mortal desire, and they shouldn’t receive any sacrament until they confess with true sorrow 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.”
“‘If circumstances suggest it [the person is capable of confessing], the celebration of the sacrament [of the sick] can be preceded by the sacrament of Penance and followed by the sacrament of the Eucharist. As 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. When we do that, we are accountable for that grace and our condemnation is now increased.
But with that said, we should never assume someone is unworthy no matter how sinful of a life they have led and not administer the sacrament to them if they have met the above requirements…as this sacrament is very powerful in moving even the worst of sinners to Life.
How an Unconscious Person is Helped
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 are truly with imperfect contrition (sorry for each and every sin because they fear God’s punishments) in their heart for all sin prior to losing the ability to confess, then from the power God’s gives His priests, God’s healing forgiving power that comes forth from their sacred hands can enter into the dying’s soul forgiving them of their sins (even mortal sin) and restore them to Life.
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.
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 for ALL sin).
Having imperfect contrition only forgives us of the sins in which we have imperfect contrition for and we can only receive that forgiveness during confession to a priest or through anointing of the sick is we can’t confess.
With imperfect contrition, we are still choosing to love one’s self–have fear of punishment–over love of God–not wanting to offend Him–as our reason to repent, which is still a form of idolatry. Therefore, we must have the assistance of a priest to move us into accepting saving grace.
But since, loving one’s self over God is still idolatry and we are outside of confession, and have full knowledge and freely choose this state of sorrow, over being terrified to offend God whom we should be loving with all of our heart, then we fall right outside of our state of grace instantly.
This lack of true sorrow is called attrition (not true contrition).
This form of contrition, 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.
To be saved at the moment of death (when no priest is around in our last thoughts) our contrition must grow and become perfect and stay in that state or we still reject saving mercy for self-love.
Nonetheless, anointing of the sick bringing forgiveness of all sin, to the person unable to confess, is spoken about 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)];
- 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];
- It gives strength to bear illness patiently, to withstand temptation and to die holily [sends helping grace];
- 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 of the sick forgives all of the venial sins that we can obtain at least imperfect contrition for and as I said even mortal sins, but only for the venial sins which we are or aren’t aware of but still have real sorrow (perfect or imperfect sorrow)…again also for a mortal sin if we are incapable of confessing it to a priest, that is of course if we can obtain real sorrow for the sin.
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 real 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 real 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 real 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 real 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/finial 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 contrition: some sorrow…just not enough to become real (perfect or imperfect) contrition.
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]” (Counsel of Trent)