“Go and do likewise” Luke 10:37
Taking its inspiration from the parable of the Good Samaritan, Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day of the Sick focuses on our duty of care to the sick and suffering:
“We need to draw from the infinite love of God, through an intense relationship with him in prayer, the strength to live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be.”
Falling this year on Monday 11 February, the World Day of the Sick was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1992 – just a year after he himself was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It is observed each year on the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and is a special day of prayer in the Catholic Church for the sick and suffering and those who care for them.
In his message, the Pope dedicates a number of column inches to the inspiration Christians can draw from the “innumerable figures in the history of the Church who helped the sick to appreciate the human and spiritual value of their suffering, so that they might serve as an example and an encouragement”.
The Holy Father cites the witness of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, the Venerable Luigi Novarese, Raoul Follereau, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Anna Schäffer of Mindelstetten and finally the Blessed Virgin Mary who “follows her suffering Son to the supreme sacrifice on Golgotha”.
Pope Benedict concludes his message with words of affirmation to those in the Church working to alleviate the suffering of the sick:
“Lastly, I would like to offer a word of warm gratitude and encouragement to Catholic health care institutions and to civil society, to Dioceses and Christian communities, to religious congregations engaged in the pastoral care of the sick, to health care workers’ associations and to volunteers. May all realize ever more fully that ‘the Church today lives a fundamental aspect of her mission in lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick’1“
1 Christifideles Laici, 38.
You can download the full message by using the link in the top right-hand corner of this page.