By this anointing and by her prayers, the Church, through the ministry of her priests, asks the Lord to (1) alleviate the sufferings of the sick, (2) forgive their sins, and (3) grant them eternal life.
1. By this anointing and by her prayers, the Church, through the ministry of her priests, asks the Lord to alleviate the sufferings of the sick.
Christ comes to the ill in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. This sacrament may restore the person to health, as St. James says: “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14–15).
In this sacrament Jesus gives us graces which help us to bear the pain and suffering of our illnesses with patience. Our Lord comes with consolation for the soul which is often experiencing pain, and sometimes fear and temptation.
2. By this anointing and by her prayers, the Church, through the ministry of her priests, asks the Lord to forgive the sins of the seriously sick.
In this sacrament, Christ gives the sick special graces that enable them to have a deep sorrow for their sins. This sorrow or contrition is required to have sins forgiven. In this regard, it is good to call a priest as soon as possible so he may help the sick person develop a sincere sorrow for sins and to otherwise help him prepare for a fruitful reception of the sacrament.
3. By this sacrament, the Church, through her priests, asks the Lord to grant the seriously ill eternal life.
By the fruitful reception of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, the seriously ill are prepared for a holy death. Besides forgiving their sins, Jesus helps the sick to offer themselves, their lives, and the pains of their illness to Him with sincere Christian resignation and with deep sorrow for their sins.