They Were Our Infirmities

A story of redemptive suffering.
by Stephen Dardis, LC | Source:
Before returning to the Church last Christmas, Lindsey hadn’t been to Mass since high school. Those days of flattering her every caprice and “living on the edge” came to an unexpected close, and by God’s Grace she returned to the Sacraments for the birth of Our Lord. The change was startling. She took her faith seriously, and her life took on considerable depth.

Nevertheless, it soon became apparent that something was wrong. Lindsey was becoming very sick. In February, she was diagnosed with cancer of the gall bladder. As if that were not appalling enough at age twenty, the doctors learned that the cancer had already infiltrated the liver. Her days were now numbered, and few.

She received the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick from a priest friend, who prayed over her for a long time. On that day Lindsey knew that the cancer had already gone. The ultrasound that followed reaffirmed the fact, revealing only scar tissue in place of the tumor. The doctors could offer no explanation, and Lindsey lived her new life to the full.

In April, however, and to the renewed horror of friends and family, similar symptoms of infection became evident. Lindsey, now twenty-one, was diagnosed with brain cancer and leukemia. After her first experience of Christ’s merciful healing, she was disposed to accept this sacrifice. She returned for a second Anointing—hopeful, but resolved to accept whatever outcome. Words could not describe her emotion following the MRI. Once again only scar tissue remained—this time, in the form of a man crucified. It was April 5, 2007: Holy Thursday.

“Yet they were our infirmities he carried, our sufferings he bore; upon him was the punishment that makes us whole. By his wounds, we were healed” (Is 53:4- 5).

The Anointing of the Sick confers a special grace of strength, peace and courage “to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. This grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of the evil one, the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the face of death. This assistance from the Lord by the power of his Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but also of the body if such is God's will” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1520).

For more information on the Anointing of the Sick, go to Catechism of the Catholic Church

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