The blessing of the oils used during sacraments of baptism, confirmation, healing, and ordination takes place during Holy Week in Catholic churches throughout the world, including Chartres. I find the service, which involves all the priests of the diocese, very inspirational. While my Protestant understanding of “holy oil” might differ from my fellow worshippers, I value our common commitment to allowing God’s invisible Spirit to touch our physical bodies in ways that promote life with all its potential, beauty, and complexity.
A New Testament verse that has often guided my prayer and hands has been, “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14