O Morning Star, splendour of Eternal light and Sun of Righteousness: come and illumine those sitting in darkness and the shadow of Death.
Is any sick among you? 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: (St James v.14)In the midst of life we are in death. We often find ourselves ill, or see folk around us ill and desperate for some relief from their suffering. The focus of one in pain often narrows until all that can be seen is that pain surrounded by darkness and nothing else. It takes a real effort to look outside the pain of living. We can either face the darkness or wait for the dawn.
The dawn does rise indeed. For with the anointing of oil comes the anointing with the flame of the spirit heralding the dawn of the life in Christ. While we will remain in pain, we share in the pain of Our Lord upon the cross. His body had already been anointed for burial. Our anointing unites our bodily pain with His. It probably will not kill the pain, indeed we may get worse or die, but if we suffer with Christ, if we die with Christ, we will be united with Christ in His Resurrection.
Our Lord is born in order to die, even as we must die. However, just as the sun sets upon the baby in the manger at His first coming, so will the day dawn at His second.