“‘The Lord anointed me and sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,
and to give them oil of gladness.” Isaiah 61
Last evening four of us joined the Church (the people of God) of Colorado Springs to celebrate with Bishop Michael Sheridan and the priests of our Diocese. The CHRISM MASS is twofold; first we pray in gratitude for the gift of the PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST, and the ministerial service of that PRIESTHOOD Bishop Sheridan and our presbyterate (both diocesan priests and deacons and order priests) offer us daily. During these days of world, cultural and church upheaval, I wonder if we do not need to stop and pray in fervent intercession for, and support of these men who have given their lives to bring the sacred priesthood of Christ to all of us ?
“Blest are you, O our God, for this holy oil that soothes the sick.”
“Blest are you, O our God, for this holy oil of new life in the Church.”
“Blest are you, O our God, for this holy oil of chrism that confirms the Spirit’s presence.”
A second focus is the BLESSING OF OILS: The Oil of the Sick, the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil for the holy Chrism. This ritual is placed between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist because of its importance in the sacramental life of the Church.
Anointing with oil has an ancient historical biblical history. In the Hebrew Scriptures do you remember when Samuel anointed David to be King of Judah and then King of all of Israel? And in the Christian Scriptures, do you recall when James reminded early Christians to gather around the sick to lay hands and most likely anoint the person? In our Catholic tradition the holy oils are used especially at the beginning (Baptism) and the end of our lives, as well as healing (Anointing); and they are also used for those special transitions of “becoming of age” in Confirmation and the special call of sharing in the priesthood of Christ in Ordination. At the end of the Liturgy these oils are distributed to each parish, mission, religious house and military chapel in our Diocese. Here at the Monastery, we receive these oils in a special ritual during Morning Praise. It reminds us of the sacredness of blessed oil in our lives and in the life of our Church, our faith.
Please take a moment and reflect on the sacredness of the simple things in our daily lives that are blessing and gift to you from a loving God.
Anne Stedman, OSB