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Encountering Christ in the Anointing of the Sick

Fr. Blake Britton

Every sacrament not only serves as the preeminent locus of encounter, but, as such, a mode of education into the fundamental mysteries of the Christian experience and summary moments in the economy of salvation. One often overlooked, if not misunderstood, sacrament in this economy is “extreme unction,” which may also and more fittingly be called “anointing of the sick." Roger W. Nutt’s recent book, To Die Is Gain, is a welcome and informative discussion on the topic.

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Tootsie roll CROP

He Misses Somebody He’s Never Even Met

Edmund Waldstein O.Cist.

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Birth. Death. What lies in between? A short span, often punctuated by suffering and loneliness. Each of us must wrestle with the “perennial problem of human finitude” (Ratzinger) and face the question of our life’s meaning. Is it good . . . fundamentally? Does it promise anything? Does it keep its promise? Absent hope in a good answer, we try to escape reality with numbing diversions of various kinds—from screens to drugs. We hang on, barely alive. Instead, when we attend to the glimpses of goodness in our existence, it is possible to engage it fully alive in the hope that our finitude will blossom into the abundance of eternal life.

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Humanum is about the human: what makes us human, what keeps us human, and what does not. We are driven by the central questions of human existence: nature, freedom, sexual difference and the fundamental figures to which it gives rise, man, woman, and child. We probe these in the context of marriage, family, education, work, medicine and bioethics, science and technology, political and ecclesial life. We sift through the many competing ideas of our age so that we might “hold fast to what is good” and let go of what is not. In addition to articles, witness pieces, and book reviews ArteFact: Film & Fiction searches out the human in the literary and cinematic arts.

Humanum is published as a free service by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C.