Our Church is so beautiful! It is the largest charity in the world: the largest provider of food, education, and health care. It goes beyond the providing the basic necessities of the body but also cares for it in the spiritual realm. It took the study and reflections of preparing this post for you, that I realized this!
Sure, we pray for people, hopefully any person of religious background does. But it’s the Catholic Church that has a sacrament dedicated to anointing and praying for the sick. What does this mean? The Church finds the sick so important to look after, there is a sacrament instituted by God just for them! Yep – it’s right up there with the sacrament of marriage or confirmation or the Eucharist. Receiving the sacrament of the anointing of the sick is the Church’s way to pray over, anoint, and console the sick. So if the Church does all of this for the sick, how can we help?
From the Bible, we are taught how to care those that are ill – fast and/or sacrifice on their behalf, gather together in group prayer and in personal prayer, be by their side to offer assistance, or even just to give them company. In the story of Job, we see that his friends came by and prayed and sat with him for a week. A WEEK! Now the idea of sitting with someone for a long period of time is overshadowed by the reason why they stayed with him: Job was worth comforting.
Have you ever had the flu? Or maybe a bad case of chicken pox when you were a kid? Did you feel like an outcast? My mom used to shut me off in my room so that I wouldn’t “contaminate” the house with my germs whenever I was sick. Though she was looking out for my grandfather’s health (which compared to my having chicken pox or the flu was far more important) it lended itself toward feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, sadness, and misery (keep in mind I was about 10). But those 10 year old girl’s feelings are not any different from those that are shut away in a nursing home, hospital, or hospice. There are so many young, middle aged, and older people who are sick in their heart because they are “shut off” due to the sickness of their body. The Church urges us to always care for their heart – this is the soul of a person. Their heart is what dignifies them not the state of their body.
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