This week we are studying about the Anointing of the Sick and Dying, a sacrament for the living, a sacrament for healing. It can be a powerful means of grace and strength for the journey of the sick to health and, eventually, the dying to eternal life.
Thinking about how the sacraments strengthen us makes me think about ways we are nourished. I am thinking about what Jesus said to the the disciples in this exchange:
“Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:31-34).
I am comforted by these words when someone I care about has reached a stage when they no longer have an appetite to eat food. When thinking of them doing the will of the Father, to “finish the work” my eyes open to their “work” in a new way. Their work continues day by day, eventually moment by moment, glorifying God in their lives. There is no abandonment of hope, rather shifting thoughts of hope for healing with more days here, to peace in the eternal hope that is theirs, that is ours.
Even now, as my thoughts and prayers turn specifically to a family I care about journeying through cancer, I am looking at an image of a fruit bearing vine beautifully wrapping itself up a cross. On the image is listed the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness nad self-control). I see the witness of this family, their support for one another bearing this fruit. This fruit of the Spirit is indeed nourishment and strength for the journey that wraps and comforts their loved one enduring a cross of suffering. And this nourishment – this strength shared – is shared mutually: the cross gives form to the vine.
Finally, I ran across a book recently to share: The Power of the Cross – Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life by Michael Dubruiel, published by Our Sunday Visitor in 2004, out of print in 2009. (Now available as a free ebook or pdf download – click here.)
Thank you for your prayers in a special way this week for the sick and dying and those who love and care for them. (Laurie E.)