Anointing of the Sick
How can Jesus help the sick? He sends this message in the Epistle of James:
“14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:14-16
This is the Anointing of the Sick, the sacrament of the sick. To administer it, the priest anoints the sick with the blessed oil (on the forehead and on the hand). It is a charismatic anointing. Our Lord sent his apostles (Matthew 10:8, Mark 6:13). The gentle touch is most important for the sick. To wipe their sweat, to wash them (hospice), to rub them (on the back), to protect them against bed-sore. Well, this sacrament is a form of grace given its content by Christ.
“Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. (Amen.) May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up. Amen.”
The sign of our Lord’s loving presence is the priest at the sickbed when he uses these words to administer the Anointing of the Sick.
Why do we suffer?
Jesus does not eliminate suffering, does not negate it, but accepts and builds it in His life, uses it and transforms it. As the shell crying around a crystal inside it, it creates a pearl. This is a dynamic miracle by Jesus. Perhaps, one of the main motives of European culture is that it does not make humans impassive against suffering. Nor hyperactive or cruel. Do we understand suffering? No, we don’t. We may never do. This is what God has given, accept it, build on it, transform it, use it. This is Jesus’ attitude. (According to Endre Gyökössy)
You sadness turns into joy
What can I say to the sick? What could I say? Above all, we should not be ashamed of being sick. It is not a secret, a taboo. It is that part of our identity which makes us similar to Jesus Christ. How could we hide Him? It is our incredible, special ID card. Do not be ashamed of your sickness, be proud of it.
However, we should fight against our sickness. We should continue fighting without giving up. Never stop, as Jesus never did. Nether Jesus, nor Mary were people who gave things up easily. They kept fighting till the end. We should nurse inside us the same courage. “If you cannot fight on your feet, learn to fight on your knees.” as Seneca said to a gladiator. This is what I say to the sick: Have courage! Jesus is with us. Also, we have friends who love us. Do not be afraid of loneliness, there is no shortage of helpful, good-intentioned people.
Experience our present sufferings with faith, not forgetting that the sickness is not the result of our personal sins. I am asked many times: “Oh, Lord, what have I done to deserve this?” Or, as our elderly clients tend to say, “did I nail you to the cross that you give this present state as a pay-back?” Sickness is not the result of our personal sins. God does not give the suffering or the pain because of someone’s merits or unworthiness. As far as suffering is concerned – it is a mystery passing through us or hovering over us.
But relying on our brothers and sisters teaches us how to rely on God.
Sickness teaches us to be humble, to rely on others, to trust others.
Those who tend to be self-opinionated, feel that relying on others’ help is a shame. They are afraid to cause trouble and inconvenience for relatives and friends. They even suffer from the fact that others have some work to do because of them. They are yet to have the experience to stand with open arms in the face of a friend who likes them. They might rely on God’s providence but have not experienced what it means to rely on others.
We need to acquire this experience about reliance. To rely on a friend loving us may be a tool to rely on God. This makes the theological faith reality.
Please, take these thoughts as my good wishes not as preaching. May our Lord bless you if sickness finds you with all of those who stand by you and help you find your health again. Whenever I love those who are sick with the love Christ taught us (agape), I lift them up into His love. (Antonio Bello)
To accept ourselves
My Lord, please help me never rebel against that my body is different from what I have imagined. Help me be able to accept myself as I am created to be. Help not to grumble about my intellectual abilities, too. Please, help me not be envious of others’ sharper minds. Let me understand that I do not have to account for the talents not given to me. But the ones I did receive, you expect me to give back with interest. From me and from others.
Finally I ask for your support to make the most out of the person who I am today. The most I can be given my talents and circumstances. Because I know you expect me to do something that only I can realize. Please, give your blessing for my efforts, my God, my Lord.