Sacraments of Healing!

Exodus 15:26

If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in His eyes, and give heed to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD, your healer.

There are two sacraments of healing: reconciliation and the anointing of the sick.  Some people find it puzzling that there should be any need for sacraments of healing.  Sure, there's a need for healing the body and doctors are good at that.  But why a sacrament?  Isn't belief in Jesus supposed to confer the Holy Spirit?  And isn't He God?  And isn't His life indestructible?  So how can there be a need for spiritual healing once you've received Jesus and have Him living within you?  The basic answer of the Church is that baptism is grace, not magic.  We can (and do) experience injury of body, soul, and spirit due to the ways of the world, the struggles of the flesh, and the sins of others — and ourselves.  Baptism is like being born.  But it's not enough to just be born.  You have to eat (which is why there is Eucharist) and you have to grow (which is why we have confirmation and practice the virtues to build up our muscles).  And when you get sick in spirit because of your sins or sick in body because you are a child of Adam, you need healing that touches your whole being and isn't just skin deep.  So celebrate the sacraments of healing.  They're given to make you whole!

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage