“Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” – James 5:13-15
In the Eastern Church, the 5th Saturday of the Great Fast is known as Akathistos Saturday. My parish sang the Akathist to the Holy Theotokos and held an anointing of the sick afterwards. I watched as people came forward for the anointing and when it came time to watch my wife go forward, I had tears in my eyes. And I wasn’t the only one.
Why? Because three days ago she ended up going to the ER for the round of confusion that happened on Tuesday and she was admitted to the hospital for a battery of tests. They did blood tests, brain scans, MRI’s, ultrasounds and many visits from doctors and medical students. In the end, all of the testing didn’t provide any definitive answers. They were able to rule out some things, but their final report was the confusion was probably caused by an underlying infection, made worse by dehydration and improper nutrition and chased by too much Oxycontin in her system.
They sent her home with 28 days of antibiotics, a much lower dose of Oxycontin and instructions to follow up with the Oncologist. As I have written about in a previous post, the new treatment plan is a drug called Navelbine and the first two times she received that drug, the area where the cancer is was hurting after the treatment.
The surgical oncology team that came to see her looked at a very nasty looking wound that had the internal medicine doctors thinking infection. The surgery team said it wasn’t infection; it was dead cancer cells. Again, I choose to believe that Navelbine is doing its job and killing the cancer.
As part of the anointing, our parish priest gave a short homily regarding the sacrament. He quoted James 5:16: “The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” If the prayer of a righteous man has great power, how much more power and effect does prayer from the Holy Theotokos have on our behalf? I had a long conversation with my spiritual advisor on Tuesday, right before all things broke loose. He said to me, “You are receiving an education in pastoral theology in this journey that no seminary could every provide you.” I choose to believe there is a Divine plan in all of this and that wherever the road takes us, it is for the sanctification of soul and body, both mine and hers.
Glory to Jesus Christ!