Wednesday, February 11, 2015

World Day of the Sick

Today is the World Day of the Sick, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. We are reminded to pray for all the sick and to thank and honor all those who work in health care and serve as caregivers. The day was established by Pope John Paul II in 1992.

Well being, and healing are two English words we see often, and society continues to present us with the ideal of health and wealth. Religion is a means for some believers to search for these values  but these values are not the ones Jesus gave to his Church. Jesus possessed none of the values that humans think are important:  wealth, honor, long life and at one time children. However, sickness brings  to human life much distress and suffering, and we rightly do all we can to do away with, lessen and prevent suffering.

The Peace Weekly editorial uses the words from Job 29:15, which Pope Francis titled his message, to bring the attention of the readers to this 23rd World Day of the Sick: 'I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame" and  recommends to us the 'wisdom of the heart'.

Many are those who see suffering as the reason to close themselves off from God. How could an all good, all knowing and all powerful God allow the suffering that we see in the world? He can't possibly exist and even if he did, they could not accept him. Job had problems with his God especially when his friends wanted him to acknowledge his own fault for his suffering which he was not able to do. We do not know the mind of God and for a Christian we know he  does not cause the suffering we have to endure, but allows it to happen for reasons our mind is not able to grasp.

The editorial reminds us that we as Christians have always seen suffering as a way of participating in the sufferings of Christ. When the sufferings are the kind that we can't avoid and must accept, it becomes a short cut to get nearer to Jesus.

Our faith does not make it any easier to understand suffering with our heads but it does give us the help to embrace it when we are faced with it. This requires  grace and personal experience. The editorial wants us to act in the way Job and the Samaritan did in loving and giving comfort to those who face suffering, and are in difficult circumstances. To do this we need to develop the wisdom of the heart.

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