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A Recipe For Holy Oil

- by Charlene E. Fairchild -

Anglican and Roman Catholic clerics receive the Oil of Anointing (Chrism) from their ecclesiastic superiors and so many not find this page all that helpful. However increasingly Anointing Oil is being used by pastors and ministers and lay persons who come from other denominational heritages. It is for them that the following page has been created. For a background treatment regarding "Rites of the Blessing of Oils" in the Roman Catholic tradtion we suggest checking out the site: Consecrating the Chrism

I'm a comfortable cook after many years of cooking and devising my own recipes so the first thing I did was look up the ingredients in the Bible for the anointing oil. The scriptural reference may be found in Exodus 30:22-33 for oils and 34-38 for incense. Leviticus 2:13-16 speaks of salt as well as oil and incense.

In Exodus 30:22-37 we have as ingredients:
- liquid myrrh
- sweet-smelling cinnamon ( a kind of cinnamon of the laurel family)
- aromatic cane (sweet cane or sugar cane)
- cassia (inner bark of cinnamon, one of the perfumes used at Roman funerals)
- olive oil

After reading these passages I read up what I could find about the oils of Chrism used in the Roman Catholic church. (one contains balsam) and thought about it all. I had made up aromatic anointing oils before and many of the ingredients were the same (olive oil, cinnamon bark, crushed and bruised cloves and allspice seeds, salt, sugar. Additionally I had used frankincense & myrrh before - selected not only for their aroma, but also for their biblical relevance. The following recipe is, therefore, an amalgomation - which can be modified as you see fit. If there is no frankincense & myrrh available don't worry about it. I'd be inclined to find the aromatic "aromatherapy" oils like balsam or Christmas mix and add a drop or two of same. To me, the most important aspect is the blessing upon the oil (see below). One might just use plain olive oil in a pinch.

- 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
- clean dry glass container
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- sugar - 1 teaspoon
- allspice seeds - 1 tablespoon
- whole cloves - a little mashed - about 1 tablespoon
- balsam - about a 1 inch piece - cinamon sticks broken and bruised (2 to 3 sticks)
The amounts are, in no way, representative of the amounts in scripture. I strive to have some scent perfuse the oil. Sometimes I've added sweetgrass, cedar needles, fir needles, wild sage. The longer ahead the oil is made the more scent it takes on.
- frankincense - 4 to 5 grains (small tiny pieces) or more if easily available
- myrrh - 4-5 grains as above
- balsam, spruce, fir, pine aromatherapy oils (instead of actual needles)

I use salt on the theory that it represents so much: cleansing, seasoning, sanctifying.... Then I let the ingredients blend. As they settle to the bottom, I then pour some off much like one decants wine, still leaving the oil with the bits & pieces in it to continue to "ripen." I've found that mashing the solid ingredients a bit in a mortar or a bowl before mixing them together helps release some scent.

The words of blessing or consecration of the oil that we used we used at one Maundy Thursday Service are as follows. Note that we did the final mixing of the ingredients at the time:

Heavenly father we ask you to bless these the elements of holy anointing oil.

(In turn - use the sign of the cross over each)

Bless this balsam to represent the innate sweetness of virtue and to symbolize healing.

Bless this myrrh to represent the purification and to remind us of the anointing of our Lord.

Bless this frankincense to represent religious fervour and to symbolize the priestly office of Christ.

Bless this clove and cinnamon and allspice to represent the fragrance of prayer and the oil of gladness. [Psalm 45:7]

Bless this olive oil to represent the outpouring of Your grace.

Send your Holy Spirit to consecrate these elements.

(Mix the ingredients together.)

Most holy God, bless this oil that it might be to us the "sweet savour of Christ." [2 Cor. 2:15] May it strengthen us, consecrate us and preserve us so that we may resist contagion with the sins of the world and may it fill us with grace so that we may be Your dear disciples and faithful witnesses now and forever. May it bless and heal those who are infirm and in need of healing - both the healing of the body and of the soul and may it encourage us in our walk with You. Amen.

I hope you find this useful and I pray blessings on your use of the oil. You might want to get yourself a small heavy metal oil cruse to use for anointing the sick. It would be able to contain a cotton ball soaked in the oil. I think you would find it an enhancement in your ministry. - - Pax Christi! Charlene

copyright - Rev. Richard J. and Charlene E. Fairchild 2000 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.
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