The Anointing of the Sick is possibly the most underappreciated and understudied sacrament. In To Die Is Gain, Roger Nutt seeks to bring greater attention to and appreciation for the Anointing of the Sick. Beginning with an examination of cultural perceptions of dying, death, and burial, To Die Is Gain exposes the ways in which contemporary atheism and physicalism mark a clear divergence from ancient attitudes. In contrast to contemporary hopelessness, the Anointing of the Sick is a powerful counter witness that highlights the great dignity of the human person and the depth of Christian hope. Unlike the cures to particular ailments facilitated by modern medical science, in Holy Anointing Jesus gives his dying followers the healing graces that they need to pass from this life to the next in loving union with Him. As Nutt exposes the biblical and traditional foundations of this sacrament, he corrects common misconceptions and malpractice of this sacrament, especially the ways in which Vatican II is often misleadingly enlisted to support a broadening of the sacrament from end-of-life situations to non-life threatening illnesses. Finally, Nutt carefully describes the graces and effects of the Anointing of the Sick and richly expounds the theological depth of the rite of the Anointing of the Sick. The result is that readers can confidently say with St. Paul that “To die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Roger W. Nutt is Provost of Ave Maria University, where he is also Associate Professor of Theology and Co-Director of the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal. He is the author of many articles and book chapters on Christology and Sacramental Theology. His books include Thomas Aquinas: De Unione Verbi Incarnati (Leuven: Peeters, 2015) and General Principles of Sacramental Theology (CUA Press, 2017). He is also co-editor of many volumes on the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, including Thomism and Predestination: Principles and Disputations (Sapientia Press, 2017); Thomas Aquinas and the Greek Fathers (Sapientia Press, 2019); Thomas Aquinas, Biblical Theologian (Emmaus Academic, 2020); and Thomas Aquinas and the Crisis of Christology (Sapientia Press, 2021).
“In To Die Is Gain, Dr. Roger Nutt offers his reader an impressive and theologically insightful account of the nature of the Sacrament of Anointing and its broader place in a Catholic understanding of life and death in Jesus Christ. Beginning with the universal experience of death, Nutt traces the outlines of a Christian anthropology of death within the frame of the paschal mystery, illuminating the fittingness of the signs and effects of the Sacrament of Anointing in light of this salvific reality. This book will no doubt be of great value to all who desire to deepen their appreciation for the theological and pastoral significance of the Church’s sacramental encounter with the perennial realities of sin and death that mark the human experience.”
Fr. Reginald Lynch, OP Dominican Province of St. Joseph
“This is simply the best book I’ve read on the Anointing of the Sick. The author is a scholar’s scholar, but he writes here with clarity and practicality that both pastors and lay readers will appreciate. The anointing—which is perhaps the most neglected and misunderstood sacrament—should be an important element in any serious Catholic’s spirituality. Read this book, and your gain will be incalculable.”
Scott W. Hahn, Franciscan University of Steubenville
“This is an important book about an important, but poorly understood, sacrament. What could be more significant than serious illness and the proximity of death? What could be more important than bringing the healing grace of Christ to the seriously ill? Dr. Nutt has written a book that is theologically sound, pastorally sensitive, and spiritually rooted in the hope of Christ’s Resurrection and ours. While based on the most solid scholarship it is easily accessible to the average reader. We all know someone—not to mention ourselves—who needs a deeper understanding of the great gift of the Anointing of the Sick.”
Ralph Martin, Sacred Heart Major Seminary