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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 not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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