Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

The Best of The Question Box

by Father I.J. Mikulski

(From the July 18, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

Father I.J. Mikulski Q. As a nurse (now retired) I have witnessed many times the profound effect our sacrament of the sick by anointing patients with blessed oil. It’s not a cure-all for disease but it does bring a great sense of peace to the patient and family. Don’t you think more could be explained?

A. “Is anyone sick among you? Let them call in the priests of the church and let them pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and the prayer of faith will save the sick person … and if he has committed any sins he will be forgiven.” (James 5:14)

Our earliest ancestors in the Catholic faith witnessed the same sacred ritual you see while making your rounds. Prayer for comfort, oil reminiscent of the anointing at baptism, forgiveness with reconciliation to prepare for the final passage into the presence of God.

Does your experience date back to the time we called it “Extreme Unction”? Which was an unfortunate transliteration from Latin. It’s much better now as the Sacrament of the Sick, not just people near death. It’s a favorite of people facing surgery, elderly people who are somewhat impaired and sick children who are old enough to know something special is happening to make them better.

The Catholic faith has a consistent ethic of respect for human life in all its phases: conception, zygote, fetus, baby, toddler, juvenile, adolescent, young adult, mature adult, older person of any age.

The first anointing with oil at baptism reserves the person for God and the final anointing with oil completes the circle by returning the person to the place of origin.

Q. Our daily TV news brings up the names of our service men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of peace. We must keep doing that. In our prayers of the faithful Father asks us to pray as well for Al Quaeda leaders that they might have a change of heart. He said that’s a right reason. Can you agree with that?

A. “You have heard it said you must love your neighbor but hate your enemy. But I say this to you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.... If you love those who love you where is the merit in that? Pagans do that much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.”

We are held to a higher standard than the average non-believer. That strange little man, Francis from Assisi, is everybody’s favorite saint. When Pope Innocent III asked him to preach a recruiting drive to enlist troops for his holy crusade with the stated purpose of seizing the Holy Land from Arab infidels, Francis politely refused. Instead he boarded a ship and visited the Arab commander, Sultan Melek, saying “Peace be to your house.”

His mission failed. Perhaps if Sultan Melek and Pope Innocent had listened to that saintly little man pleading for peace maybe, just maybe, Christians and Muslims might not be killing each other 800 years later.

Q. Is there a special class for Readers, also called Lectors? I’m very interested. People have told me I have a good voice and good appearance. I want to use my talent for people and the glory of God.

A. Bless you. Your pastor and liturgy people welcome you happily. It’s an honor to proclaim, not just read, the Scriptures at Mass.

The Q.B. writer has heard some gifted readers in the past few years, proclaimers I would drive extra miles to hear again and, if necessary, send a cab to fetch them.

Who would have guessed we had such talented proclaimers when we asked a few folks to step forward to read the Scriptures?

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