Part two of the 91st psalm offers two verses not seen in much in the Roman Eucharistic liturgy:
You need simply watch;
the punishment of the wicked you will see.
Because you have the LORD for your refuge
and have made the Most High your stronghold,
The dark one cited these verses to the Lord in the desert, tempting him from the high places of the Temple:
No evil shall befall you,
no affliction come near your tent.
For he commands his angels with regard to you,
to guard you wherever you go.
With their hands they shall support you,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You can tread upon the asp and the viper,
trample the lion and the dragon.
For the ancient Jew, the Temple was a place of foundation, of trust, of home. That notion of home with God appears often enough in the Psalms–the 48th, the 84th, among others. Here, the psalmist suggests the rescue from physical dangers, but I might pose the notion that these are also symbolic. The spiritual life offers its own dangers, especially the erosion of trust in God.
For the seriously ill Christian, these matters of spiritual danger are no less real than a wild animal. In our civilized era, we don’t perceive the dangers offered two millennia ago with wild lions or venomous snakes in the Middle East. Still, being on guard against the inner torments of life–this is good advice.
For an in-depth treatment of the Pastoral Care rites, check this page that outlines our examination from a decade ago.