To the left is my now broken oleum infirmorum (oil of the sick) stock. I have no idea how old it is. I think it was already a lifetime old when I was gifted it as a young deacon getting ready to be ordained a priest also a lifetime ago. It’s got really a lot of history to it; it could tell many end of life dramatic stories of God’s good grace all over this world on so many continents in so many countries. This was a nostalgic moment for me.
The new cotton and oleum infirmorum from this year’s Chrism Mass just weeks ago was transferred from the broken stock to the “new” old stock pictured on the right. I’m guessing that this “new” old stock I had on hand is from the late 1800s or early 1900s. I think I inherited it from a priest in my first assignment as a deacon waaaay back in the day. He had been a priest for some 60 years already. I have no idea of its long history and, it looks like, heavy usage. I’m eager to begin adding to its saga of dramatic stories of God’s good grace who knows where in this world from now on as I myself get older and it will go to some other priest as time goes on.
I’ve also been gifted stocks or bought stocks other than these, always but always a total disappointment. Mere trinkets. You get what you pay for. If it’s in a “sick-call set” it’s always useless, with junk metal flaking off in chunks when you try to screw off the cap the first time. And then there’s no room for the cotton or oil, and there’s certainly no all-important hinged-ring on the bottom (also important for grip in screwing off the cap). The hinged ring is for the priest holding his sacramental ritual book and the opened stock upright in one hand while he’s anointing the Lord’s suffering soul with his other hand.
You can hardly get these older style stocks with plenty of room for cotton and oil inside and a hinged-ring, and made from at least brass. Yes, brass is also a junk-metal, but it can be plated and it’s really, really, really strong, and that’s what’s needed more than the gold. Nothing works like brass. Not gold. Not silver. Not alumini[!]um. Nothing else. That’s my constant, continuous experience. I remember a pewter stock with a hinged ring. That broke off in like the first use. Sigh.
Older style stocks are mostly unavailable, are on forever-back-order, etc. I’m happy for the inheritance of two O.I. stocks from ages past. I’m thinking that making these things is a lost art whilst insane-liberal-unbelieving priests invalidly delegate Last Rites to be given by whoever the EMHC happens to be, sending them out with weird glass jars with huge corks with surely coconut or cbd oil, maybe essence of aroma therapy oil, you know, while they all sip effete elitist leftist lattes while also handing out the white cookie thingies… Grrr. That’s not my Church. And that’s not a straw man story. I’ve been an assistant priest in many parishes in past decades right around the world where those were the circumstances of [not] pastoral care, so that I took over all the Communion Calls because people were not getting Confession and the Last Rites, even if they thought they were because that’s what the heretics told them.
Anyway, I’m guessing this other stock will make it to it’s second century mark before it quits. I think I myself will have received the Last Rites (please God) and die in the Lord’s good graces (hopefully) long before this other stock pictured on the right breaks down. There are good priests in my diocese.
Reminder: Call the priest for Last Rites before someone dies! You can’t receive a sacrament after you’re dead. It is a terrible thing not to call the priest when someone is dying and needs the last rights.
Instruction: Some parts of some cultures, particularly Italian and Latino in my experience, will absolutely not call a priest for Last Rites until someone has died because, as they tell me, we can’t call a priest for Last Rites when someone is living, because then they’ll die. Aaarrrrgghh! It’s not infrequent that I’ll get “the call” days after someone has passed away. This, even though I frequently instruct about calling the priest right away while the person is still alive.
Lemme tell you, I can’t even begin to tell you all the miracles that have happened because of this sacrament, saving the person’s soul, but then also at times bodily life in this world if that’s what the Lord wants. This can often give the person some reprieve to do more for the Lord in this world before they definitively are on their way to the good Lord Jesus.
By the way, this is NOT an advertisement for anyone to get me another stock! No! I’m going to do a deep clean on the broken stock (they both need an outside clean-up) and I’m gonna fix it. I know how to do these things. It would be a just-in-case stock if the new old one also breaks. So I’m nostalgic.
- “But Father George! Father George! This just shows how extremist you are! The laity have been handing out – what did you call it? – communion, for a long time, and we have oil too! You have a broken oil stock?! That proves you’re superstitious: “The priest has to do it!” And you think the laity can’t provide that sacrament?! What do we men and womxn have to do, get ordained?”
smh. My response to that is to admit that I’m really hard on such things as oil stocks as I give them a terrible work-out in the field, all the time, thanks be to God.