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29. Extreme Unction

1. Extreme unction is a sacrament which, through theanointing and prayer performed by a priest, gives forgiveness andgrace to the soul, and sometimes confers health on the body of aperson in danger of death from sickness, injury, or accident.

2. Extreme unction is a true sacrament instituted byChrist. And it is one sacrament, although it involves theanointing of the several senses.

3. Scripture does not give us the time nor the manner inwhich Christ instituted the sacrament of extreme unction. But theChurch from earliest times has used this sacrament, and hasrecognized the fact that it is not within her power to abrogate it.And therefore it is certainly a sacrament instituted by the divineFounder of the Church.

4. Scripture speaks of extreme unction as a fact. In theEpistle of St. James (5:14) the matter of this sacramentis indicated as oil. This is olive oil, specially blessed, orconsecrated as the usual term is, by a bishop for use inthis sacrament. This oil is called oleum infirmo-rum or"oil of the sick."

5. It is right that oil should be consecrated for use inextreme unction, for in all sacraments the matter isblessed, and so is dedicated to a sacred use.

6. All sacraments which involve anointings-confirmation,holy order, extreme unction, and solemnly conferred baptism-requireoil consecrated by a bishop.

7. The form of extreme unction consists ofprescribed words which express and apply the matter as thissacrament is conferred.

8. The priest in administering extreme unction anoints theeyes, ears, nostrils, lips, hands, and feet of the sick person. Ateach anointing, he says, "Through this holy anointing and hismost tender mercy, may the Lord forgive whatever thou has doneamiss through . . . ," naming the pertinent sense orsense-function: sight; hearing; smell; taste and speech; touch;walking.

9. The prescribed form of extreme unction is suitable.It expresses: (a) the matter or sign: "this holyanointing"; (b) the cause of effectiveness in the sacrament:"may the Lord . . ."; (c) the actual effect of thesacrament: "forgive . . ."

"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"Obedience is a short cut to perfection."
St Philip Neri

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"God looks neither at long nor beautiful prayers, but at those that come from the heart."
The Cure D'Ars

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