Holy Oil, the Sacraments, and Liturgy

What are the "Holy Oils"? What is their use?

The Holy oil is one of the many symbols of Christianity. One of the earliest references to this symbolism in the history of Christianity is found in the Old Testament when Moses obtained the ingredients for the "Holy Anointing." Moses creates a "Holy Oil" that will consecrate everything he touches, as well as the prophets, who will establish a holy bond with God.

From the different biblical quotations, the anointing by Holy oils takes on various meanings such as abundance, joy, purification, healing, health, strength. The Sacred Oils take special prominence during ceremonial events. Formerly, the oil had been interpreted as light and salvation given by the aura of the sacred that impregnates all that touches it. The Sacred or Holy Oils have a symbolic relationship with the Holy Spirit, especially while they bestowed in the sacraments. We find their relevance as the oil on the anointing of the sick, the oil of the catechumens and the Holy Chrism, as they are all linked to the meaning of the Holy Scriptures.

"Then I said to the Israelites," This is the anointing oil. From generation to generation shall be reserved for my service. You will not apply the body of anyone or prepare any other with this same composition. He is holy and must have it as a sacred thing. "(Ex. 30, 31-32)

Besides the power to create new priests, later, the anointing of the oil was also reserved for the kings (1Sa 10, 1; 1Sa 16,13). This is explained in the Bible, with King David, who obtains the strength and glory of the Holy Spirit after being anointed with the oil of the horn of Samuel.

The Blessing of the Holy Oils is carried out to be used by the parishes for the celebration of the sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, and Anointing of the Sick. It is not known precisely how and when the joint blessing of the three liturgical oils began.

Each one of the oils is destined to a moment of the life and has a concrete meaning, but at the same time, it is related to one of the Sacred Scriptures. The oil of the sick: it is blessed before the Eucharist of the Chrism Mass, and serves to impart the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, formerly called unction. This oil means the strength of the Spirit of God for the trial of disease, for the strengthening of the person to face pain and, even death, if it is God's will. Its color is purple.

It is said the Sacred Oil has the strength to give healing to one who is ill or confers liberation for the one who is about to die. The apostle James, in his book, talks about how anointing a sick man with oil can save him.

Oil of Chrismation - A mixture of oil and balsam, signifying the fullness of the Holy Spirit, revealing that the Christian should radiate "the good perfume of Christ." It is used in the sacrament of Confirmation (Chrism).

When the Christian is confirmed in grace and in the gift of the Holy Spirit to live as an adult in faith. This oil is also used in the priesthood sacrament to anoint the "chosen ones" who will work in proclaiming the Word of God, leading the people and sanctifying them in the ministry of the sacraments. The color that represents this oil is white gold.

“The Light of Christ illumines all.”

~Gregory Palamas

Oil of Catechumens - Catechumens are those who are preparing to receive Baptism, whether adults or children, before the rite of water. This oil means the liberation from evil, the force of God who penetrates the catechumen, frees him and prepares him for birth by water and the Spirit. Its color is red.

Prayer of the Oil 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 therewith, unto healing, and unto relief from every passion, every malady of the flesh and of the spirit, and every ill; and that therein may be glorified Thy most Holy Name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen

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Cathedral of the Soul is one of the many spiritual outreaches of Humanity Healing International, a registered 501-C3 nonprofit with Church status. Humanity Healing International regards the education of Ancient Wisdom, Mystical Christianity with Ageless tradition.


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