Tag Archives: Crucifix

The Last Sacraments (Confession, Holy Viaticum, & Extreme Unction), & Holy Communion Calls

But the children of the murderers he did not put to death, according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the Lord commanded, saying: The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: but every man shall die for his own sins.”
4 Kings (2 Kings) 14:6

What are the Last Sacraments? They are the sacraments administered to a person dangerously ill. The sick person first makes his confession, then receives the Holy Eucharist in the Viaticum, and Extreme Unction.
Extreme Unction is a remedy; and as medicine is for the living, not the dead, so those dead in sin will not profit from this spiritual remedy. However, if the patient is physically unable to confess, the Church accepts the intention and administers Extreme Unction with confession.
The sacred Unction of the sick was instituted by Our Lord as a true sacrament of the New Law (Council of Trent, 14, 4). It confers grace, remits sin, and comforts the sick. In administering Extreme Unction the priest anoints the Christian who is in danger of death with the holy oils upon the organs of his five senses, and prays over him; by means of which the spiritual and not infrequently the bodily malady of the sick man is cured.
We have a serious obligation, if we are taking care of a sick person, to call the priest the moment there is danger of death. It is very wrong to delay calling the priest until the person is already on the point of death. While his mind is clear, he can prepare for the Last Sacraments better, and profit more from them. Some people do not call the priest to administer the Last Sacraments because they fear the patient would be frightened and become more worse. This is a great mistake, for actual observation has provided that a sick person is always more calm and peaceful after the visit of the priest.
Extreme Unction strengthens the sick because it confers on him grace to bear more easily the inconviences and pains of sickness,  and enables him more readily to resist temptation of all kinds. It is for the healing of the soul, and oftentimes the body; it effects the remission of mortal sins, which through infirmity of mind or body the sick man has not been able to confess, as well as the remission of some temporal punishment. And besides, at times it obtains bodily health, when expedient for the welfare of the soul. Extreme Unction compensates for all that, through no fault of his own, the sick man left incomplete in the Sacrament of Penance. It is thus the completion of the Sacrament of Penance, or the penance of the sick.
In common with all the other sacraments, Extreme Unction imparts a higher degree of sanctifying grace. This is of more importance to us at our death than at any other moment, for the degree of our future felicity depends on the degree of sanctifying grace we possess.
And the greater our love of God, the more capable shall we be of the enjoyment of eternal bliss. Thus this holy sacrament cleanses away all that is an impediment to our eternal salvation.
He, who enters upon the journey from time to eternity without fortifying himself with the last sacraments, is like a traveler who starts on his way with an empty purse. Nor can there be contempt of so great a sacrament without heinous sin and an injury to the Holy Ghost Himself (Council of Trent, 14, 9).

Note:

  • Those who have not yet received the Sacrament of Penance cannot receive Extreme Unction since it is the completetion of penance.
  • To this class belong idiots and children who have not yet attained the age of reason. It must not be supposed that this includes all children under seven, for children of five years of age have been known on their death-bed to ask for a priest, because they were conscious of having dinner against their parents.
  • Extreme Unction can only be administered to the sick once in the same illness; but if the sick person recovers temporarily, and then has a relapse, he may be anointed again.
  • Every priest who has been duly authorized by the bishop, may give the Papal benediction with a plenary indulgence, provided he makes use of the prescribed formula. The sick man must call upon the holy name of Jesus (the priest usually repeats some ejaculatory prayer to him, in which the name of Jesus occurs) verbally, if he can still speak; if not, mentally, otherwise the indulgence is not gained, and the crucifix is offered to him to be kissed.

How should we help a sick person prepare for the Last Sacraments?

We should help a sick person prepare for the Last Sacraments both spiritually and corporally.

  1. Before the priest arrives we should help the patient get ready for his Confession. Let us say with him acts of contrition, and ejaculation to keep him united with God.
  2. The patient’s face, hands, and feet should be sponged with a wet towel.
  3. There should be ready towards the foot of the bed, to the right, a table with a clean white cloth. On it should be the following:
  • A crucifix,
  • 2 lit blessed candles
  • Some holy water, and
  • A glass of fresh water with a tablespoon.
  • A clean napkin,
  • A saucer with six balls of cotton, and
  • A piece of soft bread, or one or two slices of lemon for the hands of the priest, for wiping off the anointing.
  • A basin of water and a towel should be nearby, so the priest can wash his hands after anointing.

4.  Upon the priests arrival, if he is carrying the Blessed Sacrament, we should meet him with a lighted blessed candle, in silence.

5.  The priest himself brings the corporal, on which he lays the pyx containing the Blessed Sacrament.

6.  While the sick man makes his confession, let all leave the room, as the priest may have to speak above a whisper.

How can we help a dying person?

1. We should kneel near the patient’s bed and recite the prayers for the dying, which may he found in most prayer books. We should suggest to him short ejaculations that he can easily repeat, at least in his mind. We should recite with him especially those prayers which are enriches with plenary indulgences for the hour of death.

2.  The following prayer is enriched with a plenary indulgence at the hour of death: “O my God, I now at this moment readily and willingly accept at Thy hand whatever kind of death Thou latest wish to send me, with all its pains, penalties, sorrows.”

If we reflect that a plenary indulgence gained with proper disposition means that the soul will go straight  from death bed to Heaven, we would be more zealous in helping the dying gain one.

3.  During the agony, we should sprinkle the bed and the dying person with holy water. Those around should pray, instead of fussing, or showing too extreme grief. The first thing that we can offer immediately to God in relief of the soul of a loved one is an act of resignation to His holy will. Let us humbly say, “Lord, Thy will be done!”

In case of sudden or unexpected death, should a priest be called?

 If a person is apparently dead and has not received the Last Sacraments, we should immediately call the priest. A person may continue to live two or three hours after has apparently taken place, especially if it is sudden. In that case, Extreme Unction will avail his soul.

I highly recommend reading St. Alphonsus de Ligouri’s Preparation For Death. All information excerpted from: The Catechism Explained, p.p. 640-643 and My Catholic Faith, pp. 326, 327.

God Bless BJS!!

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​The Resurrection

Fifth Article of the Apostles’ Creed

 

 

“Now late in the night of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary come to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord come down from heaven, and drawing near rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment like snow. And for fear of him the guards were terrified, and became like dead men. But the angel spoke and said to the women, Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen even as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was laid’ ” (Matt. 28:1-7).

    What do we mean when we say in the Apostles’ Creed that Christ descended into hell? –When we say that Christ descended into hell, we mean that, after He died, the soul of Christ descended into a place or state of rest, called limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting for Him.

     

  1. Christ did not go to the hell of the damned, but to the “hell” of the just. In Holy Scripture, it was called “Abraham’s bosom”. St. Peter called it “a prison”. We call it limbo.

    Among the souls in limbo were Adam, Eve, Abel, Noe, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; Joseph, David, Isaias, Daniel, Job, Tobias, St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist. They went to heaven at Our Lord’s entrance upon His Ascension.

     

  2. Christ went to limbo to announce to the souls waiting there the joyful news that He had reopened heaven to mankind.

    “He was brought to life in the spirit, in which also he went and preached to those spirits that were in prison” (1 Pet. 3:19). The souls in limbo could not go to heaven, which had been closed by Adam’s sin. It was only reopened to man by the death of Our Lord, by the Redemption. The souls in limbo did not suffer pain, but they longed for heaven. After the release of these souls from Limbo, and their entrance into heaven, this Limbo for the just souls ceased to exist.

    While His soul was in limbo, Christ’s body was in the holy sepulchre. When man dies, his soul is separated from the body. When Jesus died, His body and soul were separated, but His divinity remained united to both body and soul.

    Christ’s body did not corrupt in the tomb. It was in the holy sepulchre from Friday evening when He was buried, to Sunday morning, when He arose from the grave. This is why we say Christ rose on the third day, although He was in the grave for only three incomplete days.

    When did Christ rise from the dead? –Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death.

     

  1. Christ had often foretold His resurrection.

    He said of His own body; “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Before entering Jerusalem He said to His Apostles that He would be put to death and “rise again on the third day” (Matt. 20:19). On the night of the Last Supper He said: “But after I have risen, I will go before you into Galilee” (Matt. 26:32).

     

  2. Even His enemies knew that He had predicted His resurrection. This is why they obtained Pilate’s permission to seal the sepulchre and set guards to watch it.

    They said to Pilate: “Sir, we have remembered how that deceiver said, while he was yet alive. ‘After three days I will rise again'” (Matt. 27:63).

     

  3. Today the entire Christendom celebrates Easter Sunday in memory of the Resurrection. It is the Feast of feasts, commemorating the completion of our redemption by Christ.

    Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon of spring; the feast therefore is moveable, and can fall between March 22 and April 25, The Paschal season lasts till Trinity Sunday; till then the joyous alleluia resounds.

    Why did Christ remain on earth forty days after His Resurrection? –Christ remained on earth forty days after His Resurrection to prove that He had truly risen from the dead, and to complete the instruction of the Apostles.

     

  1. Christ’s resurrection is an undoubted fact on which rests the Christian faith.

    St. Paul says: “If Christ has not risen,”vain then is our preaching, vain too is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14). And according to St. John, an eyewitness: “Many other signs also Jesus worked in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:30-31)

     

  2. In the first place, Christ really died. His death was witnessed by many, both friends and enemies. It was proved by the soldier who plunged his spear into His side. It was communicated officially to Pilate. His bones were not broken, because He was found already dead. His Mother and disciples would never have buried Him had they suspected the least chance of life.

    Some unbelievers urge that Christ was dead only in appearance and after an interval recovered from His swoon and left the grave. The loss of blood following the scourging alone would have been enough to cause death, not to mention the wounds He received on the cross.

     

  3. In the second place, Christ really came to life. On the first Easter morning He appeared to Mary Magdalen and the other women who sought Him at the sepulchre. Then He appeared to Peter. In the evening He walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. At night He appeared to the assembled Apostles.

    Nor were these witnesses easily deceived. The Apostles did not at first believe the women who told them the Lord had risen. They would not even believe their own senses, thinking the risen Saviour was a ghost. Christ had to call for something to eat, to prove that He was not a ghost. St. Thomas refused to believe the other ten Apostles, who had seen Christ first. He only believed when Our Lord appeared to him and bade him touch His wounds.

     

  4. The Jews bribed the guards to say that while they were asleep, the disciples had stolen the body of Christ.

    Such an act was made impossible by Christ’s enemies themselves. They had sealed and guarded the tomb. “So they went and made the sepulchre secure, sealing the stone, and setting the guard” (Matt. 27:66). Even supposing the guards to have fallen asleep, the great stone which covered the sepulchre could not have been moved without waking some at least of the guards. Finally, it is a remarkable circumstance that the guards were not punished for this breach of duty.

     

  5. Christ really arose from the dead. For forty days He appeared to many. He conversed, walked, and even ate with them. He spent much time instructing the Apostles.

    One of His most important appearances was to five hundred disciples on a mountain in Galilee, when He gave the Apostles the command to go forth into the world and teach. The Evangelists have recorded nine apparitions: but it is evident from their writings (for example, Acts 1:3) that there were other and unrecorded occasions when Christ appeared. Countless of Christ’s followers laid down their lives in testimony of the truth of the resurrection. “During forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!