Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Sacrament of the Sick




The last two weeks have been challenging to say the least.  About two weeks ago, I had to have emergency surgery to remove my appendix.  Pretty common, I know, but still, surgery is scary!  I'm never really sick, and I'd never been to surgery or even admitted to the hospital before.


I was scared, to say the least.  But I was also in pain and sick, and so I could ignore the fear in order to just let the surgeon do his work.

Somehow the hospital didn't get a record that I was Roman Catholic, and so no chaplains visited me, until a few days later when they visited the other person in my room. Fr. Jim brought her communion, then asked me who I was and offered me the Sacrament of the Sick and Eucharist. He anointed me, said the words, and I burst into tears, my first since the surgery.  I was so immediately relieved, and also suddenly aware of how frightened I had been for days.  I felt God's presence with me, the warmth and love flooding over me with the prayer and the oil.  Remembering that feeling still brings tears to my eyes.

Sickness makes us feel helpless, vulnerable, dependent on those around us and on God.  Although I'm physically getting better, I know I need to think more about this experience, pray more with it and the lessons the vulnerability offers.  One of my friends told me that God loves me even when I feel like I can't do anything--what humility it takes to accept that love when I feel I have nothing to offer in return.

4 comments:

Helen said...

Thank you for sharing this. I had heard that you were in the hospital and wanted to write; know that I did pray for you and continue to do so. I think these experiences of being afraid and helpless are good not only to teach us to trust but for us to help others so do keep reflecting on your feelings and the consolation that the Sacrament of the Sick can bring. It is good to have you back on the blog. Love and prayer, Helen

Sister Juliet, NSCJ said...

Thank you, Helen. There's a lot for me to reflect on, and I know I've hardly touched it. Thanks for your prayers, too--I'm definitely recovering, and have come a long way in the last two weeks, but there's still a ways to go. Love to you!

Silvana said...

Juliet - you are learning in a very stark yet profound way that the essence of our journey into the Heart of Jesus is a journey into our vulnerability.
In 2003, in my probation conference, Clare wrote:

"This Jesus, in taking on our humanity, has taken on our vulnerability. The word “vulnerable” means “open to being wounded”. It is the opposite of closing oneself off in protection, making oneself “invulnerable”, like a medieval walled city or a policeman’s bulletproof vest"... and later: "Once we have accepted our woundedness, our fragility, we open ourselves to the realization that it is through our fragility that God acts, our woundedness is the “place” of our redemption, the means God uses not only to act through us but to heal us, to heal our world"

With love and prayers as you continue the journey
Silvana

PS: You can read the whole text here
http://www.rscjinternational.org/en/intranet/general-council-onlymenu-68/letters-and-conferences-onlymenu-177/615-conference-to-the-probanists-by-clare-pratt-rscj.html

Julie Billmeier said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I miss you and hope you are feeling better!