Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies

(Missale Romanum 1970)  

"O God, who anointed Your Only Begotten Son with the Holy Spirit and made Him Christ and Lord, graciously grant that, being made sharers in His consecration, we may bear witness to Your Redemption in the world. Through our Lord, etc. Amen.

Every year during Holy Week, all Catholic Bishops consecrate a yearly supply of sacramental oils and send them to their parishes. These three oils are the Oil of the Sick, the Sacred Chrism, and the Oil of the Catechumens. These are used in the Anointing of the Sick, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. The grace of the Holy Spirit which is differentiated in these sacraments is renewed and bestowed in the Chrism Mass for the sake of the Church’s ongoing health and vitality.

Our Collect leads us to reflect upon the deeply ennobling truth that we who are baptized, confirmed, and ordained all share in the ONE priesthood and kingship of Christ, albeit in differing ways (i.e., the common priesthood of the baptized and the ministerial priesthood of the ordained). In the Scriptures, oil is used to anoint priests, prophets, and kings, and it is a sign that God’s Holy Spirit empowers, fills, and consecrates them for His service. In the New Testament, and in the life of the Church, oil is no mere sign, but an efficacious one. We note here that for Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick, the anointing itself brings about what it signifies and bestows the grace of the sacrament. For other uses of consecrated oil, a lesser kind of grace is given and signified which points to the grace of the sacrament already bestowed or about to be bestowed.  

What effects are brought about to which these anointings bear witness? Specifically, the oils imposed on our bodies mediate the grace of the Holy Spirit. In the case of Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick, the Holy Spirit configures us to Jesus, that is, He makes us share more closely and interiorly in the very being and likeness of Jesus our High Priest and King. Our Collect above notes this point, indicating how we all (clergy and laity) share in Christ’s own consecration as Priest, Prophet and King. 

We may note here an important difference in the nature of this configuration in these two sacraments, for Confirmation can only be bestowed once, imprinting an indelible character, whereas one may be anointed as many times as one may have need of it, since no permanent character is bestowed. The character of Confirmation deepens and strengthens our configuration to Christ in Baptism, empowering us to bear witness to Christ as Lord by our words, lives, and even in our deaths. At this perilous time, it is especially important to note how Confirmation dovetails with the Anointing of the Sick, which unites the sick person more perfectly to Christ as Priest and Offering in His Passion and Death. 

We may give thanks that every year affords the Church the opportunity to renew the grace of the Holy Spirit at work in the sacraments. Jesus graciously mediates divine life to us through the sacraments of His Church, which is His Body (this is why Christ and His Church can never be separated, and thus, why the Church is necessary for our salvation). Only with the help of the Holy Spirit can we bear effective witness to God’s “Redemption,” in the words of the Collect- and the capital “R” is intentional in the official text, referring to our Lord Jesus Christ, our great Redeemer. 


(David Allen)

Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.


About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

Privacy Policy
Return Policy

Christian Life

"If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."
- St. Therese of Lisieux (+1897)

Contact Us