Pope to Doctors: Don’t be discouraged

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Meeting physicians and the sick ahead of the upcoming World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis told the doctors to never be discouraged, for it is the face of Jesus, in those they serve, and that the Lord is closest to those in fragility.

The Holy Father offered these comforting reminders as he addressed representatives of the medical area of the Health Pastoral Office of the Diocese of Rome on Thursday in the Vatican.

The annual World Day is marked on 11 February, it was introduced by Pope St. John Paul II as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses.

Thanking all those committed to healthcare ministry, the Pope recalled the meeting takes place in the context of the World Day of the Sick, which this year, in the context of the synodal journey, has as its theme the Gospel motto ‘Take care of him’ from the Gospel according to St. Luke.

The Good Samaritan

Pope Francis noted that these are the words the Good Samaritan uses when addressing the innkeeper, to whom he entrusts the wounded man, he has rescued. The Pope invited those before him to recall this scene.

He pointed out that the work of those before him, likewise, was born thanks to this dynamic, namely being able “to transform the experience of suffering into closeness to the pain of others, overcoming the temptation to close oneself off, raising one’s head, bending one’s knees and stretching out one’s hands.”

Three attitudes

The Pope went on to emphasise three important attitudes of this journey: firstly, becoming close to those who suffer; secondly, giving voice to unheard suffering; thirdly, becoming an engaging leaven of charity.

“Let us remember first of all how important it is to get close to those who suffer, offering listening, love and acceptance. But in order to do this, we must learn to see, in our brother’s pain, a “signal of precedence”, which deep in our heart forces us to stop and does not allow us to go any further.”

This is a sensitivity, he said, that increases the more we allow ourselves to be involved in the encounter with those who suffer.

“Walking together like this,” he underscored, “helps us all to grasp the truest meaning of life, which is love.”

The Pope stressed the need to “give voice to the unheard suffering” of those who, in their illness, are left alone, “lacking economic and moral support, easily exposed to despair and loss of faith, as can happen to those suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic pain.”

Making heard the cry of the suffering

The Pope said this involves challenging our cities, “sometimes deserted of humanity” and “deaf” to compassion.

“Let us take the cry of those who suffer and make it heard,” he said.

Turning to the third attitude, the Pope said that to become a ferment of charity also means ‘networking.’

This can be done, he explained, “simply by sharing a style of gratuitousness and reciprocity because everyone is in need and everyone can give and receive something, even just a smile.”

Don’t be discouraged

Setting an example by taking the initiative, the Pope said, also helps others to find the courage to get involved, witnessed by their presence, “all united in a common commitment for the good of people.”

When everyone works together as members of one body, Pope Francis said, “the suffering of one becomes the suffering of all, and the contribution of each is welcomed by all, as a blessing.”

“Being close to those in pain is not easy, you know that well. That is why I say to you: do not be discouraged!”

“And if you encounter obstacles or misunderstandings,” the Pope urged, look into the eyes of your suffering brother or sister and remember the words of the Good Samaritan: ‘Take care of him.'”

Jesus Himself looks at you

“In that face, it is Jesus himself who looks at you, He who was willing to share our weakness to the point of dying for us and who, risen, never abandons us! It is in Him that we find the strength not to give up, even in the most difficult moments.”

The Pope’s last words were for the “sick brothers and sisters” present, telling them that it is in their suffering lived with faith that brought them together to share this important moment.

“In fragility, you are close to the heart of God.”

The Pope urged those present to always “understand,” “caress” and “comfort frailties.”

Pope Francis went on to specifically request the prayers of the sick people before him, in order that “closeness to those who suffer, and a concrete commitment to charity, may grow among us, and that no cry of pain may go unheard.”

The Holy Father concluded by blessing all those before him, along with their pastoral commitment.

Source: vaticannews.va