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Uzdrawiająca moc sakramentu namaszczenia chorych


  • Dariusz Kwiatkowski


The present monograph is an attempt to view the problem of the conduct of a believing person during illness from a biblical and liturgical perspective. This aim is realized in stages. The starting point is the statement that illness is an existential experience of every human being, the believing person included, as evidenced by a fairly detailed description of the illnesses that befell the protagonists of both the biblical testaments. The phenomenon of illness in the Bible has some reference to God. This conclusion is reached after examining the etiology and ways of curing illnesses in the Bible. It must also be inferred that God often allows illnesses to befall men. In many cases illness is presented as a consequence of and punishment for the sins committed. However, it must be clearly stated at this point that one cannot ascribe the cause of every illness to sin. This thought was expressed by Jesus himself when he cured the blind man (cf. 9,1 nn). The causes of illnesses in the Bible are usually unknown to man. Illness is part of God’s salvific plan and can be an opportunity for the selfrevelation of divine glory and power. Also healing is related to God. He is the only doctor and it is He that a sick person should turn to asking for health. A person afflicted with illness turns to God with a plea for help, usually in prayer. A special form of a pleading prayer is intercessory prayer in which pleas are conveyed by mediators. In the Old Testament those mediators were people who were especially close to God, such as prophets, kings and priests, and in the New Testament – Jesus, the Apostles and the leaders of Christian communities. These prayers encompass various critical situations in the life of the nation or individual people. Special encouragement to pray for healing is given by St. James in the pericope in 5,13-18. According to him a prayer full of faith offered over and for the sick person in the name of the Lord by the presbyters brings the healing of this sick person. The calling of the name of the Lord in the prayer over the sick person results in His real and efficacious presence. The action of the Church regarding the sick person from the beginning contained quite precisely defined elements, namely: the laying on of hands, prayer full of faith and the anointing with the holy oil. Both these actions were performed by the leaders of the Christian communities in the name of Christ. A historical overview of concern for the sick and struggle against illness shows that the Church, following the example of Christ, always cared for the sick. This care found expression in visiting the sick, prayer for them and with them, in the formulas of the blessing of the oil which was used to anoint the sick so that they would regain health, in proclamation of the efficacy and fruitfulness of the anointing with the holy oil, and in the sacrament of the sick. The understanding of the sacrament of the sick evolved over the centuries. In the first eight centuries the effect of the prayer of faith and the anointing with oil was associated with the physical healing of the sick person. In the next centuries the forgiveness of sins, spiritual healing and preparation to obtain life in glory were underscored. In the late Middle Ages, mainly thanks to the scholastics, the teaching on all the sacraments was systematized, the sacrament of the anointing of the sick included. The name: the last unction, which began to appear already in the 9th century, became commonly accepted. The liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council restored the anointing to the sick persons. The renewed rite offers many possibilities of showing the Church’s care for the sick person: from visiting them and the Holy Communion to the viaticum or the last Eucharist. On this list of means of helping the sick, an important and special place is held by the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. Its renewal after the Second Vatican Council changed its understanding and practice. A very clear structure of the celebration of the new Ordo Unctionis Infirmorum is worth emphasizing. Special prominence was given to the most important gift received by the sick person, namely the gift of the Holy Spirit. It can be said that the sacrament obtained its own epiclesis: the laying on of hands, silence and the anointing with the holy oil. The prayers and readings from the Bible that make up the rite, strongly accentuate the union of the sick person with the crucifi ed and glorified Christ. The effect is the healing of the whole man, which finds its ultimate expression in eternal salvation. The present monograph shows that prayers for healing have deep foundations and are rooted in the Bible and the Tradition of the Church. So they should not be something strange, incomprehensible and unfamiliar to Christians. Hence the postulate of rediscovering and appreciating prayer in the experience of illness. Today there is a need to believe once more in the power and efficacy of sacramental prayer and to turn to God without fear in such a difficult experience as illness. Besides, prayers over the sick and for the sick, being signs of fraternal love are also a special opportunity for the world to see how Christians love one another and can face illness strong in faith. The renewed liturgy of the sacrament of the sick is also a response to the abuses connected with extra-sacramental forms of prayer for healing, more and more often practiced by Catholics. Unfortunately, a strong permeation of Pentecostal elements poses a serious hazard to the orthodox teaching of the Church on the understanding of sickness and healing.

Record ID
Other language title versions
Healing power of the sacrament of the anointment of the sick
Book type
Publisher (from the publisher list)
Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM)
Publisher name (outside publisher list)
Wydział Teologiczny
Publishing place (Publisher address)
Publication size in sheets
Issue year
Book series /Journal (in case of Journal special issue)
Studia i Materiały - Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu. Wydział Teologiczny
Keywords in English
sickness; suff ering; intercessory prayer; anointing; oil of the sick; blessing; sacrament of the sick; faith; healing; viaticum; salvation
pl Polish
Score (nominal)
Score correction
Score increased (at least one author declares Humanities, Social sciences or Theological science)
Score source
Ministerial score = 100.0, 24-03-2020, MonograhOrBookNotMainLanguagesAuthor


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