Just sharing some thoughts that have been on my mind for the last few weeks.
As I mentioned in prior posts, I received the Anointing of the Sick a few weeks ago, what used to be commonly called Last Rites or Extreme Unction. Of course, I was hoping to receive a complete and immediate cure for my tinnitus, but am grateful that the sacrament is also to give me the grace necessary to endure.
I never envisioned receiving this sacrament at this point of my life. I always saw myself as old and infirm, the priest visiting and anointing me in preparation for death.
In 10th grade I was anointed when I was confirmed. I had no appreciation for my Faith. I didn't even know what the Immaculate Conception was back then. I don't even remember if I was in a state of grace when the archbishop confirmed me.
The profound thing that sticks with me from this experience of receiving the Anointing of the Sick is the power of a priest, the power in his hands. It was amazing and very humbling to have the priest, the same priest who anointed my father years ago, and my mother many years before that, anoint me. Lay his hands on my head, anoint my palms and forehead. Anoint and bless my ears. Hear him saying prayers over me.
It was very humbling. I was very grateful. I don't think I will ever see Father John the same way again. I don't think I will ever see any priest the same way.
"In persona Christi" certainly means the priest is more than a place holder.
"Priests who dwell upon earth and make their abode therein have been commissioned nonetheless to dispense things which are in heaven, and have received an authority such as God has not given either to angels or archangels. For it has not been said to them: All that you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven (Matthew 18:18). Those who rule upon earth, indeed, have authority to bind, but bodies only, whereas the binding done by priests takes hold of the soul itself and reaches to heaven. What priests execute below, God ratifies above, and the Master confirms the judgment of His servants."
~ St. John Chrysostom