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254 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who

frees you from sin save you and raise you up” (CCC, no. 1513).

For those who are about to depart from this life, the Church offers

the person Penance, Anointing of the Sick, and the Eucharist as


(food for the journey) given at the end of life. These are “the sacraments

that prepare for our heavenly homeland” (cf. CCC, no. 1525). These

rites are highly valued by Catholics as powerful aids to a good death.

Since Holy Communion is the effective sign of Christ’s Paschal Mystery,

it becomes for the recipient the opportunity to unite one’s own suffering

and dying to that of Christ with the hope of life eternal with him. The

special words proper to


are added: “May the Lord Jesus pro-

tect you and lead you to everlasting life. Amen.”


When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for

effect is that, if it be God’s will, the person be physically healed of ill-

ness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the

Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the

Holy Spirit’s gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that

accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age. The Holy Spirit

renews our faith in God and helps us withstand the temptations of the

Evil One to be discouraged and despairing in the face of suffering and

death. Also, a sick person’s sins are forgiven if he or she was not able

to go to Confession prior to the celebration of the Sacrament of the

Anointing of the Sick.

Another effect of this Sacrament is union with the Passion of Christ.

By uniting ourselves more closely with the sufferings of Our Lord, we

receive the grace of sharing in the saving work of Christ. In this way, our

suffering, joined to the Cross of Christ, contributes to building up the

People of God.

This Sacrament also prepares us for our final journey when we

depart from this life. The Anointing of the Sick completes our identifi-

cation with Jesus Christ that was begun at our Baptism. Its grace and

power fortify us in our final struggles before we go to the Father’s house.