So there we have it!!
OK LORD, TEACH ME!!
Our posture HAS TO BE DOCILITY
True docility is being open to being taught
We all come before God with our experiences
We all have experienced loss, pain, illness, and suffering
Not only on our own but also the people around us
Sometimes it is even harder to experience and witness the pain and illness of others rather than our own
The Lord is teaching us through the Church what our posture should be
It is a challenge
We can show up today and be bitter talking about illness and suffering
We can find resentment
The Lord invites us, through the Church, to LET GO and LET DOWN OUR GUARD
What is really happening in these moments?
Paragraph 1499 says, “‘By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.’”
There is the SACRED ANOINTING
There is the PRAYER OF THE PRIESTS
This comes from James Ch 5 which we will talk more about as the days go on
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!!
James 5:14-15, “Is there any sick among you? Let the priest pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person. If they’ve committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven and the Lord will raise them up.”
This is the CORE of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick
Not only is Anointing of the Sick a sacrament of healing and forgiveness, it is also a commendation for those people who are experiencing that suffering, illness, and maybe even death, to freely UNITE THEMSELVES TO THE SUFFERING, DEATH, AND PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus has given a NEW MEANING TO SUFFERING through His Passion and death on the Cross
He has not removed suffering
He has REDEEMED suffering
He has not taken suffering away
He has TRANSFORMED it
Paragraph 1500 says, “Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death.”
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the Summa Theologica, this summary of the faith
He asks the hardest questions and answers them
He gives the best answers he could at the time, and he is a GENIUS
“If God is all good and if God is all powerful then why is there evil in the world?”
New term to learn: THEODICY
It is the problem of evil in the world
It’s been among the gravest problems confronting human life
Think about the fact that you can be the most powerful person in the world
A germ could take you out
Let’s listen to Fr. Mike’s story…
King Herod did horrible things in his life like slaughtering the innocents
A little cold took him out
Maybe that’s accurate, maybe not
The truth is that every king, every queen, every millionaire, every billionaire, every dictator…
The greatest athletes in the world
EVERY ONE OF US EXPERIENCE POWERLESSNESS IN ILLNESS
We experience our limitations in illness
Every illness can make us glimpse death
Have you ever thought about the fact that when you don’t have a sore throat, you never think about not having a sore throat?
When you have a sore throat, everytime you swallow it’s all you can think about
When you don’t have a stuffy nose, you never think about not having a stuffy nose
You just breathe
When you have a stuffy nose, all of a sudden everything has to stop
EVERY ILLNESS CAN MAKE US GLIMPSE DEATH
It makes us realize our limitations
It is not abstract
It is very concrete
This is the only body I have
This is the only life I have
I am so so fragile
Have you ever broken a bone or torn a muscle?
We are not indestructible
It makes us realize the shortness of our lives
Paragraph 1501 says, “Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.”
It is so remarkable when you find people who, in THEIR illness, are asking how YOU are
Illness does not have to lead us to despair or revolt against God
Some people are bitter in their illness
Others are better in their illness
Life is not about me
They turn to love the people around them
They are more patient
They turn to the Lord
Let’s listen to Fr. Mike’s next story…
In his friend’s old age and limitation and illness something happened
Something moved and he had this incredible conversion back to the Lord
It wasn’t that he felt bad because he was coming to the end of his life
He realized he was driving his life by his strength, his genius, his own will
He realized he himself was not enough and it provoked a search for God and HE RETURNED TO GOD
He has prayed more in the last 2 years and his life is more full of joy even though he can hardly walk
Yes, illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, despair, and revolt against God
It can lead us to TRUSTING IN GOD MORE
In the Old Testament there are so many stories where in some mysterious way sickness is tied to sin
It doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to my own sin
Think about The Book of Job
It’s not necessarily a 1:1 ratio where if you’ve done something wrong now you’re proportionately sick
That’s not how it works
Because of sin, the world is now broken
Because of sin, our relationships are broken
Because the world is out of order, there is illness
Because the world is out of order, there is suffering
Every illness is connected to sin in some way, but it is not a 1:1 ratio
My personal sin does not lead to my personal illness
We stand before the Lord in need
We come before God and He is our Healer
Ultimately, Jesus is the Healer
It is SO IMPORTANT that we recognize that Jesus has come and heals
Think about all the signs and wonders that Jesus does
Paragraph 1503 says, “Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that ‘God has visited his people’ and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: ‘I was sick and you visited me.’ His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.”
Paragraph 1505 says, “...But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover.”
THAT IS THE REALITY!!
Don’t fear those who can kill the body
Fear those who, after killing the body, can also take the soul
FEAR THAT ONE!!
There are graver evils than physical suffering
There are graver evils than even death
Sin is the worst thing in the world
Jesus came to deal with the worst thing in the world
How did He do it?
On the Cross, He took upon Himself the whole weight of evil and took away the sin of the world
Illness is a consequence of that
Illness is horrible but it is just a consequence of sin
Jesus does not remove sickness and suffering
Jesus REDEEMS IT
Jesus does not take it away
Jesus TRANSFORMS IT
That Jesus has given illness a new power and that power is that we can UNITE THAT ILLNESS AND SUFFERING TO HIS SUFFERING
What did His suffering do?
His suffering had the power TO TRANSFORM THE WORLD
Jesus said YES to this on the Cross
Jesus said YES to His suffering
Not that He WANTED IT
Jesus submitted His will to the Father’s will
Jesus said YES to that moment on the Cross
In doing so, IT TRANSFORMED THE WORLD!!
IT REDEEMED THE WORLD!!
IT SAVED US!!
When we are willing to unite OUR suffering and sickness whether it’s massive sickness like cancer or the small stuff like sore throats or a hangnail…
It can be any aspect of life
It can be loneliness
It can be confusion
EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE CAN BE UNITED TO CHRIST’S SUFFERING ON THE CROSS!!
In doing that, every aspect of life that we live can be part of the REDEMPTION OF THE WORLD 🤯 🤯 🤯
This is not a new problem
This is an old problem
It’s something that wakes us up and it could make us bitter
It could make us BETTER
It’s the kind of thing that could drive us AWAY from the Lord
It’s the kind of thing that can spur us on to learn how to TRUST IN HIM MORE AND MORE
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!