Monday, March 21, 2005

The Oils of Chrism 

Tomorrow night, I'll be attending the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral. Our Bishop will be blessing the oil of the sick, the oil of the Catechumens and the Sacred Chrism. Volunteers prepare the oil for the Chrism Mass, and representatives from each church collect their portion for the year.

  • Oil of the Sick -- Used as a remedy for both spiritual and bodily illness, an understanding already evident in the New Testament (see James 5:14). At one time this oil was used to consecrate church bells which, because of their melodic, far-reaching tones, linked the sick and the homebound with the local assembly which gathered for prayer.
  • Oil of the Catechumens -- Used prior to initiation into the church, it has an exorcistic value. The oil is meant to strengthen candidates to renounce evil in preparation for their baptismal washing.
  • Sacred Chrism -- The most celebrated and used of the oils. At baptism and confirmation it seals Christians in the gift of the Holy Spirit. At the ordination of priests and bishops it designates those who lead the ecclesial community in an official capacity. In the dedication of church buildings it is the oils that anoint the walls and altar so that even physical structures participate in the holiness of those who gather within them.
  • Read more at the Catholic Telegraph: Understanding the Chrism Mass

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