Anointing of the Sick
"Lord God, you have said to us through your apostle James: “Are there people sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the Church, and let the priests pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick persons, and the Lord will raise them up. If they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them.” (Rite of Anointing of the Sick)
In serious physical illness you experience mortality. If you are not seriously ill, but in poor health or aged, addicted to drugs or alcohol, experiencing mental difficulties you know this same experience. Because these circumstances lead you to face God in the light of your own mortality, there is something especially sacramental about the condition you are in. And so there is a formal sacrament for this sacramental situation: anointing of the sick.
Anointing does not hasten the act of death. In this sacrament, God does invite you to connect with him in the light of your final meeting with him. Through this sacrament, the entire Church asks God to lighten your sufferings, forgive your sins, and bring you to eternal salvation.
You need not be on the verge of dying to receive this sacrament. This is clear from the fact that the anointing and the prayers that accompany it have as a purpose the restoration of health. If you are in no immediate danger of death, but are sick through abuses, or aged, or mentally debilitated you can and should receive the sacrament.
Anointing of the sick helps you to share more fully in the cross of Christ. By so sharing, you contribute to the spiritual good of the whole Church. By the fact that you share more fully in the cross of Christ through anointing, you are being prepared for a fuller share in Christ's Resurrection.