Archdiocese of Mobile

Office for Evangelization and Family Life

Final Challenge

Date posted: December 12, 2014

freedomToday, we will handle the final challenge.  Then, next week we will reflect on the Incarnation.  By the way, today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  She is the patroness of the Americas, and I recommend that you read a little bit about the story of her appearance to St. Juan Diego.  Here are a couple of articles you may like:


The final challenge for Course # V is, “How do we know that any of the sacraments really work?  For example, if a person dies after receiving the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, does that mean it did not work?”


Of course not.  The Sacraments confer grace, and grace is not visible.  Look up any sacrament in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and see what the Church teaches are the effects of the sacrament.  There is no claim, for example, that the Anointing of the Sick is going to bring about physical healing.  Sacraments are not magic potions, but rather ways for God to strengthen his people.


I remember working one summer in Lourdes, France.  Many sick people flocked there from all over the world seeking physical healing.  They would plunge or be plunged into the baths in the hope of healing.  There is a museum that tells the remarkable story of many healings taking place there, but I never witnessed any such miracle.  What I did witness were numerous spiritual healings.  I saw people coming looking for relief from suffering and leaving embracing the Cross and uniting their suffering with Jesus’ out of love.  I think that kind of healing is much more powerful, and beautiful to see.


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