We all need healing. No one escapes physical hurts or spiritual wounds. The sacraments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick are the Church's response to our need for healing—both physical and spiritual. These sacraments continue Jesus's work of restoring health and bringing salvation to the broken, the vulnerable, the sick, and the dying. Both sacraments are points of contact between us and Jesus, part of the legacy of his mission: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." The Church inherited Jesus's concern and through these sacraments continues what he did. In reconciliation and anointing we experience Jesus's healing touch. How comforting it is to know that Jesus is still healing us, still forgiving us, still very much with us. The Catholic Update Guide to the Sacraments of Healing reviews the healing power of both sacraments, dispels some misconceptions, and provides a historical, practical, and sacramental perspective that blends solid theology with liturgical experience. The book also explores the variety of names for these two sacraments—confession, reconciliation, penance, conversion, and forgiveness for the sacrament of reconciliation, and extreme unction or the sacrament of the dying for the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.
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The editors of Catholic Update have combined their bestselling issues to bring you the words of Richard Rohr, William Shannon, John Feister, Carol Luebering, and other popular authors on this topic.
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The Catholic Update Guide to the Sacraments of Healing begins with highlights of the Church’s development of the sacraments known today as reconciliation and the anointing of the sick. Much of the material on both topics is taken from the writings of Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M., who holds a doctorate in liturgy and sacramental theology and lectures at St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana. In the reconciliation chapter, Richstatter reviews earlier models from “Celtic Penance” in fifth-century Ireland through liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council. He writes that during the first half of the twentieth century Catholics went to Confession more often than they received Holy Communion, “But then—rather abruptly—around 1965, the long lines for confession on Saturday afternoons disappeared.” He looks at possible explanations; discusses several forms of penance, including communal celebrations; and describes the four parts to the sacrament. The chapter on the anointing of the sick also starts with a brief history and Scriptural background. By the time the Second Vatican Council convened, the sacrament had “suffered many distortions,” and the council instituted revisions beginning with updating its name from “extreme unction.” Richstatter covers instances in which the sacrament is now administered, from those suffering from addiction to caregivers; the rite itself; the celebration of Viaticum; pastoral care of the sick; commendation of the dying; and prayers for the dead. With its emphasis on the healing mission of Jesus and the Church, links to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and questions for reflection, this work is a valuable resource for Catholics at all stages of faith.