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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

375

A

rticle

5

THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK

1499

“By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the

priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the

suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save

them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the

People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and

death of Christ.”

98

I.

I

ts

F

oundations

in

the

E

conomy of

S

alvation

Illness in human life

1500

Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest

problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his

powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can

make us glimpse death.

1501

Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes

even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person

more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential

so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes

a search for God and a return to him.

The sick person before God

1502

The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the

presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it

is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing.

99

Illness becomes a way to conversion; God’s forgiveness initiates the

healing.

100

It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously

linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his

law restores life: “For I am the Lord, your healer.”

101

The prophet

intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the

sins of others.

102

Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a

time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every

illness.

103

98

LG

11; cf.

Jas

5:14-16;

Rom

8:17;

Col

1:24;

2 Tim

2:11-12;

1 Pet

4:13.

99 Cf.

Pss

6:3; 38;

Isa

38.

100 Cf.

Pss

32:5; 38:5; 39:9, 12; 107:20; cf.

Mk

2:5-12.

101

Ex

15:26.

102 Cf.

Isa

53:11.

103 Cf.

Isa

33:24.

1006

164

376