04 September 2008

Anointing of the Sick

When I went to the hospital today to see Glen and bring him the Sacrament, I also brought him another gift from God and His Word: the anointing of the sick. The Pastoral Care Companion has a beautiful rite for visiting a sick person that loads them down with gifts from God.

It begins with the greeting of peace, moves to confession and the priceless absolution, God's Word (James 5) is read and the sick person addressed and then anointed with the words used in the Baptismal order: "The almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has given you the new birth of water and the Spirit and has forgiven you all your sins strengthen you with His grace to life everlasting. Amen." What a perfect blessing to accompany the anointing! Prayers are offered and lastly the Eucharist dispensed and a final blessing given.

Absolution, Anointing, Prayer, Eucharist, Benediction - gifts abounding for those in need, mighty medicine from God's treasure chest, and all of them routing that deep fear that Satan would plant within: "He doesn't love you; You've done something that angered Him and now He's paying you back." "Lie, lie, lie" announces the Church's ministry to the sick! "That's a lie from the evil one. Don't listen to him. Listen instead to God and His promises for you. Despite what you have done, He loves you, and He hates death even more than you can imagine. Trust in Him for He will not abandon you; He will stay with you until you are delivered - either raised from your bed in this world, or raised from it in the age to come. Either way, He is yours."

Purely incidentally, CPH offers for sale some anointing oil that has a wonderful fragrance. I recommend it:

click here


Rev. Jim Roemke said...

that seems awfully expesive for 2 ounces. Isn't just plain old olive oil acceptable? That's what I use. I have a wonderful communion kit that was hand-made for me with a special place for the anointing oil along with all the other gifts of the Eucharist for those sick in body and soul. I remember my fist hospital call as a pastor, to a young man and we were both scared to death, but I followed the rite in the Pastoral Care Companion, ignoring the lies swirling around in my head (This is to formal, a teenager will never appreciate or understand it, what if he thinks you are a fool or worse? etc.) After the visit it struck me, I was not making a personal, buddy visit, I was there for one reason, to give the gifts of Word and Sacrament, which he received to the benefit of his soul. It's not about us, but about Christ for us.

Chris said...

Fr. Weedon,

How old is this "rite" of Anointing of the Sick? Does it have an ancient pedigree or was this created recently by the synod? I'd be interested to see how this compares to the Eastern Rite. We have anointing of the sick for those who request it and it is given to the parish as a whole on the Wednesday of Holy Week. Very powerful. So, do you have a text of this? Is it somewhere online? Can you answer any of my questions regarding how old this rite may be? Thanks

William Weedon said...

The liturgy is not identical to, but clearly dependent upon the form in the Roman ritual. They both begin with the greeting of peace. They both proceed with confession and absolution (although we use the "O almighty God..." confession and they the Confiteor). Both proceed with a Scripture reading. The Roman rite has Matt 8:5-10, 13, though with the note that the priest may use some other lesson. Our rite has James 5:14-16. In the Roman rite there follow a series of prayers. In ours a brief exhortation:

"N., you have confessed your sins and received Holy Absolution. In remembrance of the grace of God given by the Holy Spirit in the waters of Holy Baptism, I will anoint you with oil. Confident in our Lord and in love for you, we also pray for you that you will not lose faith. Know that in godly patience the Church endures with you and supports you during this affliction. We firmly believe that this illness is for the glory of God and that the Lord will both hear our prayer and work according to His good and gracious will."

The anointing proper follows, prescribing only the anointing of the forehead (in the Roman rite eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands and feet are anointed). The words during the anointing in our rite come from the old Baptismal order of the Western Church: "Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given you the new birth of water and the Spirit and has forgiven you all your sins, strengthen you with His grace to life everlasting. Amen."

Both rites then follow this with Kyrie, Our Father, and a series of preces that are quite obviously from the same root: "O Lord save your servant, who trusts in you. Send him help from the sanctuary and strength from your holy dwelling..." etc.

This is followed in the Roman ritual with a series of three prayers, which our rite condenses into one:

O Lord, look down from heaven: behold, visit, and relieve your servant, N., for whom we pray. Look upon him with the eyes of Your mercy, and give him comfort and sure confidence in You. Defend him from every danger of body and soul, and keep him in peace and safety; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord...

Both rites conclude with the Benediction, though ours contains the option of administering the Eucharist after the prayers and before the Benediction.

So, to answer your question, Christopher: Jein. Some marked similarities to the old rite, especially in over all structure, but as one expects with Lutherans, streamlined. In that we're more Roman than the Romans! :)

Rev. Charles Lehmann said...

I just ran out of oil. I had some that had been made by a former EO member of one of my former colleagues previous parishes.

I have frankincense. I have olive oil. I'd like to make some more. Do you know of a place where I could read a Lutheran rite of blessing the oil?

More importantly... a recipe?

William Weedon said...

Sorry, you have to wait till Maundy Thursday in the morning and then you have to find a bishop and...oh, wait! We're Lutherans. YOU are a bishop! Right. So, wait till Monday Thursday, and celebrate your chrism mass. :)

ALTERNATIVELY, you might open your LSB Agenda to page 307 and bless away...

Rev. Charles Lehmann said...

So... how about that recipe? ;-)

William Weedon said...

Use the fine sweet (all white) incense. Make sure you crumble it very fine. Mix about 1 teaspoon of it into about 1/2 cup olive oil. Mix it. Let it sit. Then stir it. And repeat until it is dissolved into the oil. BUT the CPH stuff (though expensive) is very nice and smells even better. I'd suggest using it. Trust me on this. I've done both. :)

Brian P Westgate said...

The Chrism Mass as used at Zion Detroit is on Zion's website. It may be said either by the pastor (as it was this year) or the bishop (as it was last year.) Here's the URL - http://www.ziondetroit.org/publications/06Passiontide.pdf
It starts on p. 49 of this PDF.

J.G.F. said...

We've been blessed here on Longylund and in the Atlantic District when it comes to Chrism Masses. John Hannah, of ALPB fame, hosts the Atlantic District Service at his church in the Bronx. The oils are blessed by our Bishop/DP.

One of the ELCA congregations on Long Island, St. Luke's, Farmingdale, also sponsors a Chrism Mass, usually the same day as the LCMS Chrism Mass. I've often "snagged" all three oils from them, as the Bronx is a bit far to travel from rural Eastern Long Island.

The three oils from St. Luke's have great scents. The OI is scented with the oil of cinnamon, the OC is scented with balsa oil, and the SC with either burgamot or rose.

(I especially love Baptisms, as I can smell the rose scented oil great all day long :-)

Dixie said...

OI? OC? SC? Now I am curious, three different oils for different purposes? Could you elaborate a bit?

I skimmed through the Zion service referenced to see if this was explained there but I only see Oil of Infirmity (OI?) and Sacred Chrism (SC?). The rite says only pure olive oil is to be used for the oil of infirmity...does that mean for this kind of oil you would not use a scent? Sacred Chrism seems to allow balsom or balm. OI would be used for annointing the sick. SC for baptism...that all makes sense but what is OC and what is it used for and can it be scented per a rubric?

This is very interesting. I had only seen oil used once at the Lutheran churches we attended and it was by an elder blessing the buildings....I think he also used it when he visited the sick. But it wasn't scented nor had it been blessed.

William Weedon said...

Oil of Infirmity; Oil of the Catechumens; Sacred Chrism.

William Weedon said...

Should note that LSB has no provision for use of oil for the catechumens. It does have, however, the use of the chrism (following Baptism) and the anointing of the infirm.

Dixie said...

For those who use Oil of the Catechumens...would this be used at Confirmation? If they received an adult convert by Baptism...would the adult get both kinds, SC and OC?

I am glad this topic came up and especially for the link to the Zion rite because I had no idea that for Lutherans there were different oils for different purposes and that they could be scented. I remember reading a book, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail, for one of my Lay Ministry classes and was struck by the impact the sacramental annointing made on one of the story tellers. It is good to see Lutherans begin to practice this again.

Truth be told the oil used at my Chrismation smelled more like motor oil than anything like incense or balm! :)

Anonymous said...

Truth be told the oil used at my Chrismation smelled more like motor oil than anything like incense or balm! :)

I'll never forget how wonderful the Chrism oil smelled when I was received into the Catholic Church.

The use of scented oils by all Christians is a wonderful way to show how the Creator works through the gifts of His Creation.

J.G.F. said...

Very intersting topic, indeed.

As Fr. Weedon indicated, the three oils are for three different purposes.

The OC, or the Oil of the Catechumens, is also sometimes referred to as the "Oil of Exorcism."

We have it on hand but have never used it. I might add that sometimes this is the oil that remains unscented.

With regard to the scenting of the oil for the sick, I believe that it is supposed to be scented. One of the reasons for this is that the person anointed can smell it, reminding him of God's presence and gifts during his time of illness. At least that is what I was taught.

One has to be careful, however, with the scent used for the OI.

I once anointed one of our members, and the concentration of cinnamon oil in the OI was too strong. After anointing it left a very *visible* RED (as in rash!!) cross on his forehead!



Anonymous said...

Wonder if the more expensive oil doesn't do better overriding the hospital smells of sickness and disinfect and bring a smell of life and health.

When I first married I bought a cheap perfume. Never did that one again.