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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 . . ."

"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God."
St Philip Neri

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"Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfill, even in adversity, the will of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Whoever wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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