Sacraments are at the heart of our lives as Catholics, the way we celebrate together our continuing conversion and encounter with God. Sacramental preparation is essential if we are to experience the fullness of our life in community and in Christ. Ever conscious of the complex history of the church and its dynamic relationship to ritual, Father Lawrence Mick gives us these booklets—based on individual chapters of his popular Understanding the Sacraments Today—as a companion to the ongoing and repeated practices that nourish us.
Almost half of Mark’s Gospel is made up of healing narratives, powerful signs of the arrival of God’s kingdom in human history. Through these miracles Jesus revealed God’s presence in the world and opened ears, eyes, and hearts to the reality of salvation. Reform of the sacrament of anointing since the Second Vatican Council has dramatically changed our practice and theological understanding over recent centuries. No longer called last rites or extreme unction, anointing of the sick gathers the community to pray for and minister to seriously ill members. Through prayer, anointing, and laying on of hands, the church provides special pastoral care meant not just for the dying but for all who are seriously ill. In Anointing, Father Mick recounts the history and explores the elements and roles of the sacrament in a way that integrates it into our mission and clarifies the parts we all have to play.
Lawrence E. Mick, a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a liturgical consultant and writer whose numerous books include Understanding the Sacraments Today and Living Baptism Daily (both published by Liturgical Press).