Throughout the gospels, the sick were a primary concern of Jesus, a basis for this sacrament. In this sacrament, we ask for and experience God’s compassion for those who suffer some form of serious illness and those who are at the point of death. In the anointing and laying on of hands, God’s healing power is called upon those whose body and spirit are broken. Healing may come physically, but God will always provide spiritual strength and consolation to endure even to the point of death.
Since the beginning of Christianity, the Church as community has recognized and celebrated in a public way those important moments throughout our lives when God is present to us, individually and communally. In the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, we are called to renew our understanding and participation in these defining or peak moments of our faith journey that are called the sacraments, the public rituals used to mark these occasions in which God graces us. A noted sacramental theologian has titled these seven public rituals as "doors to the sacred."
The Church has singled out seven (7) important occasions to celebrate when God and his people interact in a special way through not only words but also symbolic action. The symbols, referred to often as “outward signs,” and their related actions help us to express those deep divine and human realities of life, love, death and joy in our life. These symbolic actions we know and celebrate publicly as: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (the sacraments of initiation); Penance/Reconciliation and Anointing (the sacraments of healing); Marriage and Orders/Ordination (the sacraments of commitment).