These are the Sacraments
as described by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.
V. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
There are Two (2) Sacraments of
Healing: One (1) for Spiritual
Illness, which is the Sacrament of Penance; the
Other, for Physical Illness, which is the
Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. An Older Term for it was "Extreme Unction", which some Interpreted-as
meaning that it was Administered only when Death was Inevitable. For that Reason, the
Sacrament was sometimes Postponed until there was no Hope-of Recovery, so as not to
Frighten the Recipient, or Unduly Sadden the Relatives and Friends.
This is a Misinterpretation-of the Sacrament which is directed-to the uncertainty which
Sickness implies; the Sacrament looks-to
Sickness as such. Two (2) Extremes are to be avoided,
One (1) which would say it was destined only for Death; the
Other, that it is Solely a Grace of Healing. It is rather, a
Sacrament for the time-of Serious Sickness; that is why it may not be-given to those
who are Facing-Death for any Reason, other-than Illness. If it
were a Sacrament, Destined Solely-for those who are about to Die,
it would be given to a Criminal on a Scaffold. But the Sacrament
may not be given, in such a Case. It may be given Immediately-after Electrocution or Hanging, or any Violent
Death, but not before. In those under Sentence of Death, there is no Hope-of
Recovery, which this Sacrament implies.
It is not a Sacrament exclusively-for those at the Point-of
Death. In the Liturgy of the Sacrament, the Priest does not mention
Death, but Prays for a return-to Health-of,
Body and Soul:
"Heal, O Redeemer, the Infirmities of the Sick Person; Heal his Wounds and Forgive him his Sins. Make all the Infirmities of
his Body and Soul disappear, and by Thy Mercy, give him Full Spiritual and Corporal Health, that re-established by the Effect of Your Goodness, he can
resume the Fulfillment-of his Duties .... Grant that Thy Servant, freed from Sickness and restored to Health, may be re-established by Thy Name and given
back to Thy Holy Church".
Two (2) other Prayers follow, in which the
Restoration-to Health is emphasized:
"We implore Thee, O Lord, look with Kindness on Thy servant [name] who is growing Weak, as his [her] Body Fails. Cherish and Revive
the Soul which Thou didst Create, so that, Purified and made Whole by his [her] Sufferings, he [she] may find himself [herself] restored-by Thy Healing
through Christ Our Lord. Amen".
"O Lord, Father Almighty, ... free Thy servant from Sickness. Restore to him [her] his [her] Health. Raise him [her] up by Thy
Right Hand, Strengthen him [her] by Thy Power, Protect him [her] by Thy Might, and give him [her] back to Thy Holy Church, with all that is needed for
his [her] Welfare, through Christ Our Lord. Amen".
The Oil-of-the-Sick, which is Consecrated-at the Pontifical Mass on Holy Thursday, contains no allusions-to
Death or the Dying. The Words of the Bishop are:
"Pray that this Oil may serve to give Renewed Strength to God's Temple . . . that all who are Anointed with the Heavenly Remedy
of this Oil, may find it a Medicine for Body and Soul, quick to remove all Suffering and to drive-away all Sickness and Infirmity of Soul and Body".
The Official Teaching of the Church Condemns
those who Deny that it is a Sacrament of Healing. The Council of Trent stated:
"If anyone says that the Anointing of the Sick neither Confers any Grace nor Remits Sins, nor Comforts the Sick, but that it has
already ceased, as if it had been a Healing Grace only in the Olden Days, let him be Anathema".
When the Salvation of the Person, under Providence,
calls-for the Postponement-of Death, the Sacrament will bring
about this Recovery. The Writer recalls giving the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to a Woman who was
given-to a Life-of Sin. She had been Poisoned. As the
Poison infected the Brain, she had the impression-of losing each of the
External Senses. She would reach for her Eye and say to her
Mother: "Mother, here is my Eye. You keep it when I am gone". She would reach for her
Ear and say to me, "Here, you keep this when I am gone". The Sacrament
of the Anointing of the Sick was administered, and immediately she was Restored to Health. The next day
she came to the Rectory, and began leading an Apostolic Life which continued for
Many Years, until her Death. The Anointing was
for her Death, but it happened to be for a Postponed Death.
Saint James, in describing the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, puts the Emphasis-on
"Is one of you Sick? Let him send for the Presbyters of the Church, and let them Pray over him, Anointing him with Oil and the
Lord's Name. Prayer offered in Faith will Restore the Sick Man, and the Lord will give him Relief; if he is Guilty of Sins, they will be Pardoned"
(James 5:14, 15).
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)
Here it is to be noted that the People who are to Benefit, are not necessarily those at Death's
Door, but the Sick. The Sick Man is described as One able to call-in the
Priests of the Church. Saint James says also that the Prayer of Faith
shall save the Sick Man, which is the Physical Side of the
Sacrament; the Forgiveness of
Sins being the Spiritual Side.
The Purpose of the Sacrament is clear from the fact that the 'Person' is
Sick -- not the Body alone, nor the Soul
alone. All the Sacraments are aimed at a Single (1) Whole, made up of
Matter and Spirit. Even the Eucharist
pertains-to the Body, as well as the Soul, for
Our Lord said that He would "Raise up on the Last Day",
those who would Receive it. Sickness has Spiritual Repercussions: no
Person can be Sick in Body without having his Soul
Disturbed. The Anointing of the Sick, therefore, is to some extent Psychosomatic.
Sickness and the Soul
A Serious Illness, cuts us off from the Occasion of Sin.
The Will to Sin, is Weakened-by the
Physical Inability to Sin. It is True that many a Man, Believes he has left the
Passions behind, when it is really that the Passions have left him behind. This moment-of
Enforced Detachment from the Allurements of the World, is always an Opportunity-for the Reception-of
The approach-to Death emphasizes the uniqueness-of
'Personality'. During Life, we lose ourselves in the Mob,
in the anonymous "They", in the Masses, in "Togetherness". But the nearness-of
Death confronts Self-with-Self: "I am I -- Unique -- Responsible for every Thought, Word,
and Deed of Life". The Soul begins to see itself as it really is, and
God in His Mercy prepares a Sacrament for this
Dread Moment when 'Personality' is confronted-with its Load-of Sin.
Sickness breaks the Spell, that Pleasure is everything, or that we ought to go on Building
bigger-and-bigger Barns, or that Life is Worthless unless it has a Thrill. Sickness enables us to
Sense-of-Values, as an Actual Grace Illumines the Futility and
Emptiness of many Ambitions: "What does it Profit a Man, if he
Gain the whole World,
and Lose his Soul"?
There is a World of Difference between the Christian in Serious Illness, and the
Pagan. As Franz Werfel wrote:
"The Skeptic believes in nothing more than Death; the Believer believes in nothing less. Since the World to him is a Creation
of Spirit and Love, he cannot be Threatened by Eternal Destruction in his Essential Being, as a Creature of the World".
A Man, who in Life, never prepares for Death, uses every means to Conceal it, to Render
it Unobtrusive, to Disguise it, even feels Awkward in the Presence-of Death, and Knows not, how to-Console
those who are Bereaved.
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" - Souls climbing to the Kingdom of God -
Icon of the Eastern Church
The Pagan Fears the Loss-of the
Body; the Christian Fears
the Loss-of the Soul, knowing that the Destiny-of the Body will be,
the Destiny-of the Soul. To a Pagan, this World is everything,
and Death deprives him of all there is; to the
Christian, this World is only a Scaffolding (Ladder), through which Souls climb-to the
Kingdom of God. When the Last Soul shall have climbed-up, through the
Scaffolding, then it shall be Torn-down, and Burned with fervent Fire, not because it is Base, but simply because it has Done its Work -- it
has brought us back-again to God. Hence, to the Christian, his
Whole Being is never Threatened by Death. All during Life, the
Pagan is moving-toward Death; but the
Christian is moving-backward. He starts with the fact that he must
Die and Render an Account-of his Stewardship; knowing that he will Die, he Plans his
The Christian, having been Signed-with the Sign-of Death,
the Sign-of the Cross at Baptism, is committed-to leading a Life-of
Mortification, which means a Dying to the
Ego, in order that the Christ-life may be more Manifest.
The Church is, therefore, constantly recommending a Daily Rehearsal for the Great Event, or
tiny little Deaths, in preparation-for the Final One. No Masterpiece is ever Created-in a Day, and
Death itself is a Masterpiece. The Sculptor who wishes to Carve a Figure out of a Block-of Marble, uses his
Chisel; First cutting-away great Chunks of Marble, then smaller-Pieces; finally, he reaches a Point where only a brush-of the Hand is needed to-reveal the
Figure. In the same way, the Soul at First, has to undergo Tremendous
Mortifications, then more-refined Detachments and little
Deaths, until finally, the Divine Image is Revealed. Because
Mortification is recognized as a Practice-of Death, it was fittingly described on the Tomb of Duns
Scotus: "Bis mortuus; semel sepultus" -- He died Twice, but was buried only Once.
As evidence-of how seriously the Church takes Grace or
Divine Life in the Soul, in contrast to
Physical Life, its Liturgy calls the Day on which Saints
Die, their Birthday, or Natalitia.
The World 'Celebrates' a Birthday on the Day a Person was born-to Physical Life; the
Church 'Celebrates' it when a Person is born-to Eternal Life. There are
Three (3) Exceptions to this in the Liturgy of the Church,
and for very Good Reasons. The only Physical Birthdays in the Liturgy are those of
Our Divine Lord (December 25th), the Blessed
Mother (September 8th), and John the Baptist (June 24th).
This is because each of these Births marked a Special Infusion of Divine Life into the World:
Our Lord is Eternal Life; the Blessed Mother,
through her Immaculate Conception, participated in that
Eternal Life from the First Moment of her Conception;
and Saint John the Baptist was Sanctified in his Mother's Womb, when he was visited-by his
Lord, still Tabernacled-within the Blessed Mother.
This does not mean, even for the Christian, that
Death has no Terrors. There is still something very
Frightening about it. If Death were merely a Physical
'must', we would not Fear it; our Fear comes from the
Moral Fact that we know we ought not to Die. We Fear Death
because we Realize, it was not Part-of the Original Plan. The
Dying Christian knows that the Personal
Judgment (i.e. Particular Judgment) at the Moment of his Death,
will be a Revelation-of the Meaning-of his Personal Life, just as the Cosmic Judgment
(i.e. Final/Last Judgment) at the End-of-Time, will be a Revelation-of how he Lived-in Society.
Death is not just a mere Emancipation-of the Soul
from the Limitations and Burdens of the Body, and a Passage-into a Purely
Spiritual State, such as Plato conceived. This would completely forget the Resurrection
of the Body. The Body has had a Share-in the Virtues or
the Vices of the Soul; therefore, it will take-on a Quality after
Death, corresponding-to the Quality-of the Soul. If a Green
Liquid is poured-into a Glass, the Glass looks Green. If the Liquid poured-in is Red, the Glass looks Red. So too, when Evil
is poured-into the Soul, the Body takes-on the Quality-of
Evil, and is in a State-of Incorruptible Corruption, whereas the
Body of the Person who Dies in the State
of Grace, shares-in the Glory of the Soul.
What this Glorified Body will be like, we do not know,
except that it will correspond-with the "New Heaven" and the "New Earth' of which the "Apocalypse" speaks. When the
Soul leaves the Body, at Death, it does not
leave the Body's Sphere altogether. The Soul still has a
Tendency, to be Reunited-with the Body. We put our Hand on Warm Wax, and we leave the Imprint-of the Hand.
So too, the Imprint-of the Soul is in some-Way, in the Body,
and the Soul, to some extent, bears the Body within itself. In
the Resurrection of the Dead, God will
give the Soul its Body-forming Power, and the Opportunity-to
Build-up the Body will be entrusted-to it, as it was meant to be.
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)
To Understand the Sacrament, One must never lose hold of the fact, that there is a
Double (2) Life: Biological and
Spiritual. So there is a Double (2) Death,
Death of Body, and Death
of the Soul. Saint John states: "Thou dost pass for a living Man, and all the while,
art a Corpse" (Revelation 3:1). A Body may be Physically Alive, but the
Soul, Spiritually Dead. Such would be a Person in the State-of
Serious Sin, and Alienation-from God. We see
Corpses walking-on the Street every day; Biological Life is in them, but not
The Real Reason, Man Dies in his Flesh, is
because his Soul, having turned-away from God, has Lost the
Dominion it once Exercised-over the Body. One (1) of the
Penalties of Original Sin, was that the
Body should Die. When the Sinful
Soul is Restored-to the State of Grace, it has its Power returned-potentially,
to-effect the Quickening-of the Flesh and the Restoration-of the Body,
but the Actual Rejuvenation is Deferred-until the Last-Day.
In its Present State, the Body often Depresses
the Soul; it Restrains it in its Upward Flight. It is almost a Cage, which Prevents the
Soul, as a Dove, from Flying-to God. A Sickness,
accentuates this Weight, producing sometimes a Lethargy in the Soul.
Herein is the Purpose-of the Anointing of the Sick: to enable the Soul
to be Free in this Life, either through the Healing of the Body,
or else to be eventually Free-from the Body in Death, with all
the Traces-of Sin, Blotted-out.
Administration of Extreme Unction - by Poussin
How the Sacrament Is Administered
In speaking-of the Sacrament, Saint James said that the Priests of the
Church were to be called-in -- not merely the Priest. Though it is One (1) Person
who is Sick, and One (1) Organism that
is Disordered, nevertheless, Sickness is not considered a Private Affair,
any more than Sin is a Private Affair. Just as One (1)
Sin in a Soul, diminishes the Sum or the Content-of
Charity in the Mystical Body, so the
Sickness of any One (1) of the Members-of the Church,
Grieves, in some way, the Fellowship of the Saints. The
Church, representing Our Lord, responds-to this
Sickness in any One (1) of Her Members, by sharing Her own
Corporate Wealth with the One who is Ill. Her
Prayer is that the Sick Person be cured-of his Weakness,
and if it be God's Will, be restored-to the Life of the
The Unction of the Sick is a kind-of a Prolongation, both of
Baptism and of Penance, in the sense that it is a Remedy-for
Sin. It is not to be thought that the Sacrament Operates-in the
Sick, in the Nature-of a Miracle, or takes the place-of Medical Science, any more than
Baptism takes the place-of Birth, or Holy Communion takes the
place-of Eating. The Council of Trent said that the Anointing of the Sick was a Consummation, not only
of Penance, but of the Whole Christian Life, which ought
to be a Continual Penance. The Anointing of the Sick is a
Sacrament of the 'Living' and, therefore, normally-Presupposes the State of
Grace, just as Medicine is given only to the Living, and Holy Oil is a Medicine.
As was pointed-out above, Physical Life may have either
Wounds or Diseases. There is a difference between having a
Finger Cut-by a Knife, and a Body
Suffering from Smallpox or
Cancer. Penance looks more-to the Wounds of
the Soul; Anointing of the Sick more-to the
Sickness of the Body, but never apart-from the
The Administration of the Sacrament, starts-with the Basic Psychological Fact, that we cannot
think of a Single (1) Sin that ever got into our
Soul, that did not come-through our Body. The Sin of
Envy, for example, comes-through the Eyes; we may have seen how much more the Joneses have.
The Sin of Pride, in like manner, often comes-from the Eyes,
as One makes a comparison between how much Richer, Smarter, or more Beautiful, One Person is than another. Drunkenness,
Adultery, Robbery, Blasphemy
-- we often walk-into these Occasions of Sin. Even the Nose
contributes-to Sin and to Vanity, either through the smell-of
Good Food, leading-to Gluttony, or through Perfumes which, according-to Advertisements, are
Allurements to Sin.
Just as Physical Diseases leave certain Marks on the
Body -- Tuberculosis leaves Spots on the
Lungs, Smallpox Marks on the Face,
Leprosy Scars -- so too, Sin leaves-behind some Traces in the
Senses and in the Body. The
Spiritual Scar of every Sin, is evident from the fact that One feels
Weaker after the Sin than before, and less resistant-to Wrong.
Other Diseases or Viruses leave little
Tails -- not speaking scientifically -- or Traces-of their Existence-in the Body. Just as Sewers
become clogged, and Chimneys sooted, and Ships contract Barnacles, so too, the Germs-of Sin leave little
Tails behind, which are Remnants or Relics of the Rebellion which
Ravished the Soul and the
Body. Though an Alcoholic may give-up his Alcohol and repent-for his Sin,
Alcoholism may remain-in the Body, in Marred and Ruined
Five (5) External Senses -
Hearing - Ears
Smell - Nose
Sight - Eyes
Touch - Hands
Taste - Mouth
The Church now comes-along, in a Serious Illness,
not only to blot-out the Sin, which is done primarily-in the Sacrament of
Penance (also here if Penance cannot be received), but also to Cleanse-away the remains of
Sin. Because Sin came into the
Soul through the Eyes, Ears and
Nostrils, Mouth, Hands
and Feet, the Church lays-hold-of these
Senses and Organs, which in some way cooperated-with the
Soul in Sinning. It prepares the Soul, either for the Restoration-to
the Mystical Body of Christ or for a Passage-to
God. The Poor Member-of the Church is covered with the Dust-of Action and the Spatterings-of
Life, with the Mire and Dregs of half-fought Battles, with the
Weakness of Swords half-drawn; with One (1)
Eye toward the World, and the Other toward Christ. That is why
the Church Prays: "Remember not, then, his old Sins, nor the Excesses to which Anger or
the Fervor of an Evil Will has led him. For, though he has Sinned, yet he has not denied Thee, O God".
When the Eyes are Anointed, the Priest says: "By this Holy Anointing
and with His Holy Loving Mercy, may the Lord Forgive you whatever Wrong you may have done by the use of your Sight. Amen".
When the Ears are Anointed, the Priest says: "By this Holy Anointing
and His Most Loving Mercy, may the Lord Forgive you whatever Wrong you have done by the Sense of Hearing. Amen".
When the Nose is Anointed, the Priest says: "By this Holy Anointing and
His Most Loving Mercy, may the Lord Forgive you whatever Wrong you have done by your use of the Sense of Smell. Amen".
When the Mouth, with closed lips, is Anointed, the Priest says: "By this
Holy Anointing and His Most Loving Mercy, may the Lord Forgive you whatever Wrong you may have done by the use of the Sense of Taste and the Power of
When the Hands are Anointed, the Priest says: ";By this Holy Anointing and
His Most Loving Mercy, may the Lord Forgive you whatever Wrong you may have done by the use of the Sense of Touch. Amen". The Priest, on
Dying is Anointed on the back-of his Hands, his
Palms having been Anointed in Holy Orders. The Lay Person is
always Anointed on the Palms.
When the Feet are Anointed, the Priest says: "By
this Holy Anointing and His Most Loving Mercy, may the Lord Forgive you whatever Wrong you may have done, by the use of your Power of Walking. Amen".
In the following Prayer, which the Church Recites,
there is no mention-of Death:
"Cure, we beseech Thee, our Redeemer, by the Grace of the Holy Sacrament, the Ailments of this Sick Man [Woman]; Heal his Wounds and
Forgive his Sins. Deliver him from all Miseries of Body and Mind; Mercifully Restore him to Perfect Health, inwardly and outwardly, that having recovered-by an
Act of Kindness, he may be able to take up his former duties. Thou, Who with Father and the Holy Spirit, Liveth and Reigneth God, World without End.
If the Illness is to last for some-time, the Sacrament
gives to the Sick Person, the necessary Grace to endure his
Sickness in the Spirit of Holiness; it also
Remits, to some extent, the Temporal Punishment that is due to
Sin. There have not been wanting, some Theologians in the past, who have held that, if received with Great Faith,
it Remits all Temporal Punishment due to
Sin, and in-case-of Death, prepares the Soul
In this Sacrament, Sins are not
Remitted in-virtue-of an Act-of-Jurisdiction, or by Judicial-Sentence, as they are in the
Sacrament of Penance. Why? Because with Serious Illness, there is the possibility-of passing-into
another Community; that is, from the Church Militant to the Church Suffering,
or the Church Triumphant. The Soul particularly-in
Danger of Death, is about to go-before the Throne of the Eternal Judge and,
therefore, to Him alone, is Reserved the Jurisdiction, or the Judgment-of the
Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. That too is why, in the Administration of this Sacrament,
there is more of the Imprecatory Form of Prayer, than in Penance. The
Priest puts the Prayer in the Form-of a Petition, because he is exercising his Power, only as a Delegate-of the
Church Militant. In the Sacrament of Penance, the Priest said:
"I Absolve you from your Sins"; in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick,
"May the Lord Forgive you any Sins, etc". The Measure of the distribution-of Grace,
here is left entirely-to the Merciful Love of God.
Two-Fold Results of
Because Oil is used in the Sacrament, it must not be forgotten that Oil has a
Double (2) Purpose -- 'Strengthening', and 'Illumination' or
'Enlightenment'. The aspect-of 'Strengthening' has already been mentioned, but
'Enlightenment' also comes with this Sacrament: it sheds a new Outlook-on the meaning-of
Death. Many who receive this Sacrament, have the Fear-of Death,
taken-away-from them, and may even Desire it, as Saint Paul said: "I desire to be Dissolved, and be with Christ".
This comes from a Higher Wisdom of the Soul, because
it has been Purified of the Remains-of Sin. Just as we see what is outside a
Window, more clearly when the Window has been Washed; so too, our Soul more-clearly sees the Purpose-of-Life, once the
Senses and Soul have been Purified.
Saints very often undergo in Life, through a Great Penance, what is
called a "Dark Night of the Soul". Thanks to this Dark Night, they then arrive-at
a kind-of Mystical Union with God, or even a Mystical
Espousal. Thanks to the Anointing of this Sacrament,
One may also pass-through a Dark Night of the Soul, but in a much Shorter Period-of-Time, and
looks-forward-to Mystical Union with Christ. Therefore, there can take-place in the
Soul, in a very Short Space-of Time, both the Purgative and
Illuminative Way, at the Last moments-of Life: a Cleansing-of the
Soul and a Greater Vision-of the Glory and
Beauty of God.
Soul carried to Heaven - by Adolphe William Bouguereau
The Spiritual Life would be Terrible, if the
Good Lord had not Instituted this Sacrament for an
Illness, which is a Rehearsal-for the Final Battle-of-Life. Thanks to
it, the Church takes us in Her Maternal Arms, and shows us
"My children, here is your Fatherland. Come with me. If it be God's Will, we will cross over this Arid Desert of Life together,
and we will Confide you to the Angels, who will carry you through to your Eternal Repose".
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, is not the Sacrament
of the Dying or, in the Strict Sense of the Term, the "Last Sacrament".
In the Liturgy of the Church, the Sacrament of the Anointing is
given before the Eucharist; when the Latter is Administered-to
the Dying, it becomes the "Last Sacrament". This is very fitting, for the
Sacrament of the Eucharist has reference-to the Body, as-well-as to the
Soul. Our Blessed Lord said that those who Received
Him in the Eucharist, would be Assured-of the
Resurrection of the Body. Furthermore, in the Mass,
there is a Prayer immediately before Communion, which 'Begs' that
the Eucharist "may be to me a Safeguard for Body and Soul, and a Remedy".
When given to those who are Dying, the Eucharist is
called Viaticum, which means "Going with you", on the Way-to
Eternity. The Eucharist deposits-in our
Body "a Seed of Immortality". It is a Provision
for the Journey-to Eternity, when One is at the Door-of Death.
The Church makes its Reception at this Moment, a Matter-of Grave Obligation, even more-strict-than the
Anointing of the Sick.
The Viaticum, Received-in danger-of Death, just as
the Eucharist Received-in Life, is Social in its Implications. There is not merely the Union-of
Christ and the Soul, but there is also the Union-of the
Sick with the Whole Church. The
Dying Person, if he is in a State of Grace, is leaving the
Church Militant on Earth, for either the Church Triumphant in
Heaven or the Church Suffering in Purgatory. Hence,
when a Priest places the Eucharist on the Tongue of the Recipient,
he says: "Receive, Brother, [or Sister] the Viaticum of Our Lord Jesus Christ that He may Preserve thee from the Malignant Enemy and
bring thee to Everlasting Life". The reference-to "Brother" or "Sister",
refers-to the Family and the Fellowship-of the Church and the Saints.
There should even be a Solemnity about the Last Communion, as
there is about the First Communion. The Family should gather about the One who receives the
Viaticum, and its Solemnity is increased, when Administered-by the Pastor himself, who is the
Head of the Parochial Community.
The Catholic who is Dying is
never-Lonely, because there is another Rite connected-with the
Viaticum; namely, the Commending-of the Soul to
God. The Priest gives him a Crucifix to Kiss, while an
Invocation is said to the Cross: "We adore Thee, O Christ, and we Bless Thee,
because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou has Redeemed the World". As the Moment-of Death approaches,
there is the Official Discharge to the Dying:
"Go forth, Christian Soul, out of this World, in the Name of God, the Father Almighty, Who created thee; in the
Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who Suffered for thee; in the Name of the Holy Spirit, Who has Poured-forth upon thee ....
May thy place be this Day in Peace and thy Abode in Holy Sion".
Then the Church calls-on the Angels and the
"May the Angels lead thee into Paradise. At thy coming, may the Martyrs receive thee and lead thee into the Holy City,
Jerusalem. May the Choir of Angels receive thee, and with Lazarus, who was once Poor, mayst thou have Eternal Rest".
Death is One (1) of the
Penalties for Sin, but, when accepted, it becomes an
Atonement also for Sin. Every Christian
knows that it is not just a Happy Life that One must seek-for, but also a
Happy Death. Hence, he Prays that he
may be Fortified by the Sacraments, and that he may be fully-Conscious
when he receives the Last Rites, in order that he may, as it were, peer-through the Door-of
Heaven, to his Eternal Reward.