Sunday, June 30, 2013
Our God is an awesome God
The church that we attend when we're in the U.S. is very small. I doubt that there are more than 50 families in the parish, which relies heavily on support from the tourists that come to the town it's in. The priest just turned 81. Most of the parishioners are retired. The altar server and his wife just celebrated their 55th anniversary this week; last week a couple in the church celebrated their 67th (!!!) anniversary, and the week before another couple celebrated their 57th. It's a very subdued congregation. The music is terrible.
Last week one of parishioners asked for the anointing of the sick because she was going to have surgery for lung cancer on Wednesday. The priest invited all those with serious illnesses or conditions to come up for prayer, and 35 people came.
This week the priest's homily focused on the "all in" nature of discipleship, and in the middle of it he brought up the anointing of the sick and how many people neglect to ask for it. Then he reported on the woman with lung cancer. On the day before her surgery the doctor took another scan of her lungs to determine the exact location and size of the cancerous tumor, only it wasn't there! God had miraculously healed her!
Having been a charismatic christian all my adult life I can tell you that the anointing of the sick at mass last week had none of the "charisma" that I was used to - no excitement, no evidence of extraordinary faith, no evidence of expectation that God would do anything. The whole process was quite "ordinary". But God showed up anyway!
That's something that never ceases to amaze me: the humility I see in the Catholic Church, and the great love that God shows to the humble.