Word and sacrament form an indivisible whole. The Lit-
urgy of the Word, preceded by an act of repentance, opens the
celebration. The words of Christ, the witness of the apostles,
awaken the faith of the sick person and of the community to ask
the Lord for the strength of his Spirit.
The celebration of the sacrament includes the following
principal elements: the “priests of the Church”
hands on the sick; they pray over them in the faith of the Church
—this is the epiclesis proper to this sacrament; they then anoint
them with oil blessed, if possible, by the bishop.
These liturgical actions indicate what grace this sacrament
confers upon the sick.
A particular gift of the Holy Spirit.
The first grace of this
sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome
the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the
frailty of old age. This grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews
trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of
the evil one, the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the
face of death.
This assistance from the Lord by the power of his
Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but
also of the body if such is God’s will.
Furthermore, “if he has
committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
Union with the passion of Christ.
By the grace of this sacrament
the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself
more closely to Christ’s Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to
bear fruit by configuration to the Savior’s redemptive Passion. Suffer-
ing, a consequence of original sin, acquires a newmeaning; it becomes
a participation in the saving work of Jesus.
The sick who receive this sacrament,
“by freely uniting themselves to the passion and death of Christ,”
“contribute to the good of the People of God.”
this sacrament the Church, in the communion of saints, intercedes
for the benefit of the sick person, and he, for his part, though the
136 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1325.
5:15; cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1717.
11 § 2.