This Isn’t Magic!Fr. Barnabas Powell
On this Holy Wednesday:
Let us pray to the Lord,
O Lord who, in Your mercies and bounties, heals the disorders of our souls and bodies, do, the same Master, sanctify this Oil, that it may be effectual for those who shall be anointed therewith, unto healing, and unto relief from every passion, every malady of the flesh and of the spirit, and every ill; and that therein may be glorified Your most Holy Name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Today we approach the grace of God in His Church as the Church offers us the continuation of the healing ministry of our Lord Jesus. In the Holy Unction service we come for healing, but not just physical healing, but complete healing of soul and body. This holy oil sacramentally brings us close to Him Who is our healing.
All too often we are tempted by magical thinking and think that if I simply go and get the “magic” oil then God is somehow obligated to make me feel better. But this reduction of the divine mystery of Holy Unction can never rise to the lofty reality of the mystery of the Church.
The truth is all the divine mysteries of the Church do only one thing! From the Eucharist, to Marriage, to Ordination, to Baptism, to Unction, to Chrismation, to Confession, and to all the other ways God communicates His grace to us; these divine mysteries accomplish one necessary task! They bring us into intimate communion with God Who IS our Healing, our Life, our Salvation, and our only true Lover. The mysteries of the Church bring us closer to God and it is this closeness, this intimate connection with God that heals, and saves, and gives life to us as we participate in the life of the Church.
Dear ones, TODAY we receive Him Who is our healing in the mystery of holy oil. This isn’t some “magic” formula or rite performed by the tribal medicine man to make your headache go away. This is nothing less than the being brought close to Him Whose footsteps in the Garden struck fear in the hearts of Adam and Eve when they disobeyed. But now we are able, by the grace of God, to once again intimately walk with Him in His kingdom.
As you approach the Holy Oil today, rejoice that God Himself comes to you to heal all your diseases, especially the ones in our hearts. Blessed Holy Wednesday to you! Finish well!