The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick
On last February 11, 2006, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, our community accompanied with prayers some of its members who received the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Mons. Claudio Gatti, in the catecheses that preceded this important day, explained the importance of changing our mentality when receiving this sacrament. It must not be received with fear, but with a joyous and serene spirit, because each sacrament above all increases the grace and it is a meeting with Christ, as it is an expression of the immense God's love for us. The Bishop ordained by God entrusted himself to the prayers of the sick of the community who received this sacrament, because who suffers is more similar to Jesus and is closer to Him: "I entrust to your sorrow, to your suffering, to the sad moments of your days the future of the Church. Be living, palpitant candles, because the world and the Church need your light, your suffering and your sorrow. You must feel as candles lighted before God's altar and I, officially and solemnly, entrust to you the future of the Church and my future, because the sick is closer ot Jesus, the one who suffers is closer to Jesus than who does not suffer. Jesus said: Come to Me, who are tired and overwhelmed and I will comfort you". Who better than the sick and the suffering can help the two children chosen by God to fulfil the great mission, by offering their days, sufferings and prayers?
The Anointing of the Sick is commonly called "Extreme Unction", because it is often given to the sick when he is going to die and he is no more conscient. This sacrament must not be lived as a sort of "pass for the soul", but as a grace necessary to help who is suffering. The sacrament can be given to those who have a weak health, who are in their old age, but also to those who have to undergo a delicate operation and, each time similar conditions or worrying situations should take place again, it can be received again. The Anointing of the Sick helps the sick in the suffering, gives him the grace, serenity, light and equilibrium necessary to face the sickness and to be a bright light shining inside the family. It is Jesus Himself who bends over the sick to give him his help, his comprehension and his comfort. For someone this help consists in being accompanied towards the final hug of God, for others in the improvement of the health or even in the healing. Our sister Marisa in one of her moments of highest suffering, when it seemed to be going to fly into the Paradise, after receiving the Anointing of the Sick she could get over that terrible moment. So sometimes this sacrament can give life back, if this is according to God's will. As a matter of fact, God does not always heal his children, because the suffering is a consequence of the original sin and for justice God cannot cancel it, but He helps and gives strength and courage. The Anointing of the Sick generates the grace of being united with the Lord and the strength of being able to cope with the sickness and the sufferings. The suffering fears, also the Lord experimented it, for this reason He goes towards the sick and places Himself next to him.
On last February 11, God wanted the Bishop to give the Anointing of the Sick to many members of our community so that in the Church could spread the authentic meaning of this sacrament. Any sacrament must be loved, because it was wanted and instituted by Christ, as it came out of his chest. All the Sacraments are the definite consequence of Christ's passion and death, so also the Anointing of the Sick must be viewed under this light. On February 10, during the homily the Bishop affirmed: "Tomorrow a grain of corn will be thrown into the Church so that may spread a new mentality and conception, by which we will get to receive with joy this sacrament. How many times, in the case of deadly deseases, it was waited for too much time before giving this sacrament to the sick who were no more lucid. It must be done before, because later the sick is not aware of receiving the Sacrament. Tomorrow will be an extremely important moment for the whole Church". What pushed the Lord to intervene at advantage of the sick, and He healed many of them, was his love, his mercy, his compassion, that He manifested by moving to tears in front of the tomb of his friend Lazarus, or with the young son of the widow of Naim, while he was brought to the tomb. The Lord wanted his love, his sensitiveness and care towards the sick to remain in the Church.
Before giving the Anointing of the Sick, the Bishop filled our heart with these words: "Each time we receive any sacrament we meet Christ and you also, dear sick, meet Christ. In this moment you must feel loved by Christ, because He addresses each one of you. In the moment you receive the Anointing of the Sick, do know that Christ, in the person of the Bishop, approaches you with love, respect and esteem. It is a grace that floodes your soul, it is a bunch of blessings that strengthen your faith, it is a deep light inserted into your heart and it will have to illuminate and accompany you for all the time established by God for each one of you. Fear neither this, nor the Sacraments He instituted, Jesus bends over each one of you, kisses you and is moved".