Society Magazine

God at Times Steps into Your World Less Than Subtly

Posted on the 09 February 2015 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

I love how He works.  I do.  And it's not usually, at least in my life, as obviously as He did today.

A couple of hours ago, in frustration admittedly, I put this up on Twitter:

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing folks completely ignore the tools the Church has to deal with the things life hands you...

— Brutally Honest (@Ricksteroni) February 9, 2015

I won't go into detail as to what it was about but interestingly enough, so interestingly, less than an hour later I saw the following from The Anchoress on Facebook:

In 2014, Sister Mary Ann — who had once contributed a piece to Patheos sharing her thoughts [on] the the future of the church in the digital age — left the USCCB to blog and to file reports on the US Church for America, in print and digital platforms. It was there she revealed in an almost nonchalant way that the breast cancer she had previously thought beaten had metastasized. The topic of her piece was how Catholics underutilized the Sacrament of anointing.

Now, I urge my readers to read The Anchoress' piece in its entirety because it's oh so worthy (as usual) but I was particularly interested in that last link of the excerpt because it had to do exactly with the source of the frustration on display in my tweet:

Twice I have received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. The first time was four years ago, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer; the second, a couple weeks ago when I learned that the breast cancer had metastasized.

The sacrament involved both the sacrament of reconciliation and the anointing of my head and hands. It AnointingOfTheSickimmersed me in the love of the church, a profound experience that drove home the fact that as part of the Christian community, I do not stand alone when facing troubled times.

On both occasions, friends joined me as our pastor came to my home to lead the service. It included my favorite prayer, Psalm 139, which reminds us that God is familiar with all our ways, knowing us from our very beginnings and standing with us through everything.

I’ve known others to receive the sacrament with only a spouse or children present and still others who have received the sacrament as part of a parish experience and still others who embraced the sacrament with only the priest who administered it. One friend, a college professor, received the sacrament in 2002 and 2008 before students and colleagues, certainly an educational experience not soon forgotten by anyone present.

Despite these examples, however, research shows that the sacrament is both misunderstood and underutilized, even by church-going Catholics, people who go to Mass at least once a week. According to a report six years ago from the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, only 63 percent of those who attend Mass weekly or more have requested the sacrament for themselves or an immediate family member. CARA said that only 45 percent reported they considered it “very important to them to receive the sacrament of the anointing of the sick at some point.”

Read the whole thing.

Then do me a favor and pray for Sister Mary Ann Walsh as she battles a spreading cancer and desires to face it with mercy.

Might we all face the end with such grace.


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