Yesterday in church we had a healing Mass where you could go forward for anointing and prayer for healing. You were invited to bring illness, addiction, despair, affliction and burdens for others to be prayed over. At first only a few went forward. As time passed, however, more and more parishioners got in line. In the end, I imagine 75% of the 300 or so people went to be prayed for and anointed.
It is humbling to realize how many around us are in pain and in need of a healing touch. Once, when I was in college waiting for the MTA train in Harvard Square, I was feeling very sad. I was thinking that everyone around me looked happy and I felt very alone in my pain. Then, unbelievably, the girl next to me jumped in front of the train as it pulled into the station. I ran up the down stairs, back into the light, into the arms of the people I had just left. I simply had no idea that other people might be in despair around me. Since that day, I have never been so presumptuous about how other people are doing.
Still, yesterday’s service was a visceral reminder that most of us are burdened. We need to remember that whenever we interact with another person. Some hide with their pain; some lash out, but we are mostly just trying to move through our lives. No one really “has it all together.”