Sunday, April 22, 2007


or the healing of the sick were administered after Mass this morning. Nearly everyone in the church took part. I guess there were nearly no healthy people Mass this morning. It took the priest all of about 15 seconds to administer the sacrament to each person in the line, including the children, although those under seven were merely given a blessing. We walked away with oil on our foreheads and hands, and supposedly healing in our hearts, after having been assured by Father that this ritual forgives our sins and brings us spiritual as well as physical healing.

I'm still waiting.

What a perfunctory rite this has become. It bears little resemblance to the ritual conducted in years gone by when the dying person was visited by the parish priest, confessed, anointed, and given the Eucharist. That old ritual invariably produced observable results. The dying patient became physically improved even if just for a short time. It was predictable. We could see with our own eyes that the ritual had real meaning. We could note the difference in the condition of the patient before and after the ritual. It brought us increased awareness of God and His action in the life of mankind.

This thing today was another thing entirely. Just another going through the motions with little actual effect on real life. How did our sacrament become reduced to such paltry insignificance?

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