Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Anointing of the Sick


By being in the right place at the right time today, I received the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.  

At this morning's Mass, Father Rafael officially received for our parish the Holy Oils that were blessed at the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral yesterday.  A friend told me afterward that it is his custom on this day to offer to anoint anyone present who is either sick or qualifies for anointing because they are elderly--which means anyone 65 and older, which I am.  I considered not going up because I am not sick, but then I thought, "why pass up an opportunity to receive the graces of a Sacrament which you may need--because you could be sick and not even know it yet!"

Happily, about a dozen people went forward so I was far from alone.  It was extremely moving.  He had us line up in front of the altar, and then he placed his hands on our heads first, going down the whole line.  Then, he went down the line again, anointing us with the Oil of the Sick on our foreheads and hands, accompanied by this prayer:  "Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up." 

Since I have never received this Sacrament, I did not know about the hands (I had my hands folded and my eyes closed), so he had to push my hands apart to do it, which was slightly embarrassing, but not too much.  Frankly, thinking about all of it now makes me tear up, because it was so very beautiful.

I wanted to stay in the church longer afterward, but workmen were noisily tightening screws on the kneelers, so I gave up and left... but when I got to the car, I carefully wiped off the Holy Oil from my hands and forehead with a Kleenex, and then folded it up with the oil residue inside.  I am keeping it, and it is now on the little shelf under my crucifix.  

Dear Lord, what a lovely blessing you have given me today! +

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