Skip to comments.Being Catholic: Sacred Things, Holy Oils
Posted on 04/07/2007 4:22:02 PM PDT by Salvation
Exodus 30:22-25 "And the Lord spoke to Moses, Saying: Take spices, of principal and chosen myrrh five hundred sicles, and of cinnamon half so much, that is, two hundred and fifty sicles, of calamus in like manner two hundred and fifty. And of cassia five hundred sicles by the weight of the sanctuary, of oil of olives the measure hin: And thou shalt make the holy oil of unction, an ointment compounded after the art of the perfumer..."
There are three kinds of sacred oils, all of which signify the work of the Holy Spirit and symbolize it in that oil "serves to sweeten, to strengthen, to render supple" (Catholic Encyclopedia). The three holy oils are:
The blessing of oils is performed by the Bishop of each diocese on Maundy Thursday ("Holy Thursday") in the diocese's cathedral during a "Chrism Mass." The oils are kept in metal or glass bottles called "chrismatories," "chrismals," or "ampullae." These vessels are then stored in a cabinet called an "ambry," which is usually fixed to the wall of the sanctuary. Priests also have a portable "oilstock" which has a section for each of the three holy oils. Lay people are not to handle the holy oils, even to carry them, except in emergencies.
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My pastor spoke about the Holy Oils at the beginning of the Holy Thursday Mass. Later, just as he was beginning the sermon, a man in the congregation had chest pains, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Father grabbed the Oil of the Sick and immediately performed the Sacrament of Anointing.
My second son, Tom, was the server, and he was in awe. “Father gave him Anointing of the Sick, and then he was feeling much better! It worked!” (An ambulance was called, too, of course.
Then this morning, while we were helping to set up the church for the Easter Vigil, Tom got too close to the stand that holds the oils (he’s big and rather clumsy) and almost knocked it over :=). I hope he doesn’t change his mind about being a priest; he has such a sense of the supernatural.
Here’s hoping that the gentleman in your congregation is feeling much better.
Thanks for your concern. I heard at Mass this morning that he’s doing fine. The person I spoke with said the episode Thursday was a reaction to medication.