This evening, on Great and Holy Wednesday, the sacrament of Holy Unction takes place. The mystery provides both physical and spiritual healing with oil blessed by the Holy and Life-Giving Spirit. The service consists of psalms, seven readings from the Gospels, preceded by seven other New Testament writings - from the epistles of St Paul and St James. Each set of Scriptural readings are followed by a prayer offered on behalf of the faithful, by the priest, asking for physical and spiritual healing, sanctification and forgiveness. The service is concluded with the priest anointing the holy oil upon the faithful's heads and hands, making the sign of the cross and saying 'the blessing of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ: for the healing of the soul and body of the servant of God (name), always now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.'
'..let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.' (James 5:14-15)
As Christ came to the world in order to heal 'our infirmities and bear our diseases' (Matthew 8:17), this great power and gift of healing is certainly available to all, within His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, through the Holy Spirit. This Sacrament which takes place tonight, is the Church's specific prayer for healing - renewing, and forgiving us, as we approach the glorious feast of Pascha.
'O Lord who, in thy mercies and bounties , healest the disorders of our souls and bodies, do Thou, the same Master, sanctify this oil, that it may be effectual for those who shall be anointed...unto healing, and unto relief from every passion, every malady of the flesh and of the spirit, and every ill..' (Prayer of the Oil)
|The Sacrament of Holy Unction taking place this evening at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St Luke, Glasgow|