Friday, March 13, 2009

Novena of Grace - Day Six

Day Six was all about the oil.

Pulpit phrase of the day: "If our hearts are good, we can weather this storm."

My last time with the Novena of Grace, the blessing with Holy Oil - the Anointing of the Sick - came on Day Eight. This time, Day Six.

My last time, it was a hands-on blessing with all recipients in a circle, taking turns in the middle. That time, there was an elderly woman with crippling arthritis that stood next to me, looking just like my grandmother before she had died, so small yet so resolute, in such pain, always. May she get some relief, I had thought at the time as we all encircled this woman and placed our hands on her as the priest anointed her with oil and prayed for her healing.

This time, there were no such dramatics. Just a priest and me (the anointing blessing requires a priest, apparently - for that was the same each time). Yet still - so profound. He anointed my forehead with a murmuring of words, then the palms of each hand. We both said amen. As I left the Church, I rubbed my hands across my throat.

Which is the confession of the day. My physical imbalance that I am working to correct through this Novena of Grace is my thyroid. How I know? I keep losing hair. Lots of it. Still have lots more to lose. But when a handful came out last Friday, and then I heard that the Novena of Grace was starting up last Saturday, I knew that I needed to go.

So that's the confession. This whole Novena journal began because of vanity.

Now, in my defense, the hair loss likely is a symptom of a hormonal imbalance, likely with my thyroid (for which I already take medication), so it is fair and right that I should pay attention to the symptom and get the imbalance treated (and not just with the Novena but by a doctor too, which I am doing). But I don't know that I'd be so adamantly focused on creating balance with my thyroid if it weren't for the visual effects at stake here.

It could be I'm just losing all the gray. This happened to me before, where all my gray hair fell out. Back then - so many moons ago - I was in my 30s, very stressed out, and suddenly I was going gray. One thing led to another, I reduced the stress, and I lost most of the gray. Not too much hair fell out that time because I wasn't too terribly gray yet. This time? I've been losing it in handfuls.

And while vanity was the impetus, healing seems to be the result. My hair already has stopped falling out. How weird is that? All week long, I have lost almost no hair. Intellectually I know this cannot be due to the Novena of Grace, since hair follicles decide weeks ahead of time to release their strands of hair (and it just takes awhile for the cycle to manifest). Still. A little weird, don't you think? That I have had virtually no hair loss all week long during this Novena of Grace....

In the meantime, all this focus on my throat this week (in one of the relic blessings, the relic was even held on my throat instead of my forehead) seems to have had the additional effect of releasing a bunch of words I've had stored up about the Church. And so I've felt some balance spiritually too. Just the sharing of the words has created a healing.

God works in mysterious ways.

And so ends the second trilogy of days. One more trilogy remains.

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