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SICK

97

It can also be seen as a gesture which calls down God's power

to heal. lt should be clear from the different meanings of the gesture of laying on of hands, that the gesture needs a context in order to be understood properly. In the context of a Mass for the Sick or of a home visitation we would see laying on of hands as a specification of the Church's healing concern. As a symbolic action it 1) designates the individual as a representative of the community, and 2) is an expression of the Church's concern for the person's recovery of health. The Church's concern for the sick makes itself evident in concrete situations. The following are three IISpects of the situations in which the eucharist and the laying on of hands should be considered .: 1) the visitation of the sick as. a preparation for Mass and the laying on of hands, 2) the Mass of the sick in the home, 3) the preparation of the Church for Mass and ' the regular Mass of the sick on Ember Saturdays.

VISITATION OF THE SICK AS A PREPARATION FOR MASS

A preparation is necessary for both the eucharist and for the laying on of hands. This is so necessary that one should be hesitant to allow anyone to the Mass who has not been prepared in some way. This is essential for the Mass and even more so for the laying on of hands. If one is not prepared there is a great danger that either a person's faith will be weakened (they expect a healing and it does not occur) or a psychological aberration will occur. A "healing" will occur in this latter case only because of the tension built up in a person and not because of an act of God. The result in this case, of course, may be both a physical and a psychological injury. The visitation of the sick is one way of preparing the person for the eucharist and the laying on of hands. The priest should be visiting the sick on a regular basis. At times these visits can be very short. He should make the point, however, of explaining to the sick person the meaning of sickness. This can be done by direct teaching methods, by the prayers said together, or on the occasion of his inviting the sick person to Mass. The time of sickness is not the best time

Profile for Chicago Studies

Spring 1969  

Volume 8:1

Spring 1969  

Volume 8:1

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