The ancient sacramental of anointing is celebrated with the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday. Every Catholic Man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Understanding so he can wonder at the mysterious power of Chrism Oil and by building in the Virtue of Religion so he can more fully and faithfully practice Catholicism.
After His Baptism and Temptation in the Judaean desert, Jesus begins His public ministry by working His way west, preaching in synagogues and healing the sick, and His reputation begins to grow. Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth, and goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath, as was His custom. To His people Israel, many of whom He was related to through Mary and Joseph, Jesus will announce He is the Messiah.
Standing to read Scripture, Jesus selects and reads Isaiah’s 700-year-old prophecy of the Messiah, who will bring miraculous healing and freedom to those in bondage. Stunned, the crowd watches as Jesus says He has been “anointed by the Spirit”, and that,“this Scripture has been fulfilled”, a clear declaration that He is the long-awaited Messiah. His former neighbors first react well, but skepticism grows as they realize Jesus is Joseph’s son. Mysteriously, despite having the Son of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph in their midst for years, the people have failed to recognize Divinity and holiness.
The Chrism (meaning, “Anointing”) Mass is an annual liturgical rite led by the bishop in the Cathedral on the morning of Holy Thursday, during which oil is either blessed (made sacred), or consecrated (made holy) for different liturgical uses during the next year. Continuing the long Jewish tradition of using oil for anointing and imitating the anointing of Jesus, the Apostles used oil for anointing (2 Cor 1:21, Jas 5:14-15), and the early Church established specific rites to bless and consecrate oil for liturgical use. Chrism oil (olive oil with aromatic balsam resin) is used in two ways: sacred chrism is used in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Anointing of the Sick; and holy chrism is used in the Sacrament of Holy Orders and for the Consecration of a Parish.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Christ establishes the use of anointing oil in the Sacraments: Person of the Trinity, He gave ancient Israel religious rites that used oil to anoint priests and kings; Son of God, Jesus is anointed by the Spirit, signaling He is the Christ(literally, “Anointed One”), the Divine Prophet, Priest and King; guiding His Church, Jesus establishes Sacraments which use anointing oil to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Wonder at the mysterious power of Chrism oil
Realize: To help every Catholic man experience and accept His many blessings, Jesus, the Divine Priest, guides the Church to contemplate and incorporate powerful symbols of His many gifts, including the mysterious use of Chrism oil in several sacraments.
Believe: Review the Consecration of Sacred Chrism (CCC 1297).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so You help me more fully recognize, understand, and experience the mysterious blessings of being anointed by Chrism oil and allow me to grasp the supernatural power of Your Gifts of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Grow in piety in the practice of Catholicism
Realize: Living in the world, it is easy to forget that every Catholic man is “super-naturalized” by the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments; the Holy Spirit remains with each man throughout his entire earthly life.
Believe: Reflect upon the use of Sacred Chrism in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick (CCC 1241-1242, 1289, 1290-1296, 1300, 1320, 1519).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Justice, help me build the Virtue of Religion (a part of Justice) so I am awed by, and piously observe, the profound blessings of the rituals and life-saving Sacraments You have given to Your Holy Catholic Church.