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Sacrament of the sick

Australian Jesuit Fr Richard Leonard, author of Hatch, Match & Dispatch: A Catholic Guide to Sacraments, talks to Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications on the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. He provides background to the sacrament in the context of the ministry of Jesus and history of the Church, and he speaks of the different elements of healing beyond just the physical. He points to the “miraculous” intercession of Irishman Matt Talbot and uses his usual humour in storytelling.

Fr Leonard says the sacrament can be understood in the healing tradition of Jesus according to the many gospel passages, and notes there was a connection with penance in the Church before becoming linked more to the power of love before death and going to heaven. He says, “So in the book I really make a case for having more expectant faith.”

The Australian Jesuit believes that the sacrament often acts as a trigger for the latent potential of healing within us, for example, he points to neurological changes that result from the sacrament.

Fr Leonard is convinced that many miracles have been performed through the intercession of Dubliner Matt Talbot who is known to have brought healing to people with alcoholism, and which has had a healing effect among families too. He also looks at healing of mental health problems (citing the biggest killer of young people in Ireland and Australia under the age of 30 is suicide) and of people who have deeply traumatising memories.

Listen to the podcast interview above ยป.