Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Use of Holy Oil

Pere Bernard of Toulouse in his classic Le Triple Rosaire tells members of the Confraternity to take the oil from the lamp burning before the Rosary Altar and bring it to the sick. He cites the example of the members in Milan who anoint themselves with this oil and receive a great number of cures. He tells them to invoke the names of Jesus and Mary as they do so. He also gave a form of blessing to go with the anointing:

May the Lord Jesus Christ
heal you from this illness and anxiety,
through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A colleague of my own, relates how the old women of Tralee, Co. in the south of Ireland, would pull down the lamp at the Rosary altar and dip cotton wool in it to take home. They must have been acting under some old instruction, though no one was quite sure and nobody dared stop them or ask why.

I like to first rest with patients, endeavouring to listen with the ears of Jesus, looking with his eyes and reaching out with something of his touch. That demands faith in my own Christian charism and helps to evoke the same attitude in the person before me. Having listened and looked awhile I bless the beads of the sick persons and invite them to join me in saying at least one decade of the Rosary.

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