Today, I received an anointing from my priest.
Here’s what happened. We walked into the healing room in our church. Father pointed out the beautiful painting of St. Raphael above a chair with soft cushions. St. Raphael was, in the painting, extending his hands in a loving and beautiful manner. (Unfortunately, no photos of dear St. Raphael.)
He told me to sit down, and he left to retrieve his little booklet containing the order and words for the rites of the Church. I sat there, and it was during this time of waiting I thought to take a quick photo. I’ve never been anointed before, though lately, when it’s been offered, I’ve wondered whether I would benefit from it.
In the past, this sacrament was reserved mostly for those on their deathbeds. I’m not on my imminent deathbed. In a way, though, we’re all there, aren’t we? We’re all just one step closer to the day we breathe our last. But so far as I know, I don’t have any disease that is an immediate threat to my life.
However, I have been inundated with difficult things, and I guess that was enough for my priest to feel that the anointing would be helpful. And I trusted him on this, and am glad I did. I wish more could experience this. I hope they will seek it out.
Each year, our church, on the Feast of St. Blaise, offers this sacrament to everyone at church, in communal fashion, who is ill or aging. I guess, with my 46th birthday coming up, I am aging. Well, I’m not getting younger anyway. And though I wouldn’t consider myself elderly, I am grateful I had a chance to experience this sacrament today.
Father reminded me that many people approach the sacrament wrongly, expecting too much, believing they will be cured of their infirmity, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about procuring (us)/bestowing (Jesus through the priest) additional graces to help us deal with the crosses that have already been placed before us.
By the time I reached home, I’d received some clarity about some things that have seemed muddled, and I was able to write them down. I felt all the prayers of those who have been promising them swirling around me and blessing me. I felt a small but welcomed burst of new life.
I can’t say for sure how all this is going to turn out, but this was an unexpected and beautiful part of my day, and a brief period of time I will remember for quite a while, if not forever.
Q4U: Have you ever been the recipient of a healing or anointing? What was it like?