When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong: A Retreat Guide on the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

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Sickness and death were not part of God’s original plan for the human family; they were consequences of original sin. But now, in this fallen world, no one escapes them. For a little while we may be able to ignore or avoid them—but in the end, the agony and pain of sickness and death touches every single one of us.

Whenever that time comes, when we encounter them either in ourselves or in those we love, we are faced with a critical choice:

Will we allow the illness and suffering to lead us, as the Catechism puts it, to “anguish, self-absorption… despair, and revolt against God”? (CCC 1501)

Or will we allow them to make us, once again quoting the Catechism, “more mature” and to help us “discern… what is not essential” so as to “turn toward that which is”? (CCC 1501)

Certainly we would all want to make the second choice, but many people don’t; many lives are shattered by the storms of illness and death. How can we make sure that we survive and thrive through those storms, that they make us more mature and lead us closer to God?

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