In the first reading this week, we hear the prophet say, “Give comfort to my people, says your God.” This week I would like to reflect on the Sacraments of Penance and Anointing. These sacraments are known as the “sacraments of healing”. Both of these sacraments open us up to conversion of heart and to the healing nature of our God.
In the Sacrament of Penance, we confess our shortcomings, our sins, and we are given absolution which restores us to spiritual health, and reconciles us into the faith community. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered at PAX CHRISTI on Saturday afternoons and can be scheduled anytime by calling Fr. Nick. The church teaches that Catholics “are bound faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” If a Catholic is aware of having committed a serious sin, the person should not receive Holy Communion, “without having first received sacramental absolution.” The Church recommends that Catholics participate in the regular confession of even their minor sins, so that “through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful.”
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick can be given to those individuals who are scheduled for a serious operation or if they are gravely ill or in danger of death due to old age. The Sacrament offers emotional and spiritual healing, as well as sometimes physical healing.
Through the sacrament, a person “unites himself to the passion of Christ,” “receives strengthening, peace and courage to endure sufferings of illness,” “the forgiveness of sins,” “and the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of the soul.”
The sacrament can be received more than once, and Catholics are encouraged to receive the sacrament when in poor health. If you are going in for an operation, you can always ask the priest for the Sacrament of Anointing after mass on the weekend prior to your hospital admission. Also, if you go into the hospital, please contact Fr. Nick to come to receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Do not wait, until the last minute, before calling a priest for someone who is near death.
God in His generosity wants to be involved in our lives, especially in times of difficulty. Please turn to Him in your time of need.
In peace and anticipation,