Pope Benedict XVI has released his message for the 2012 World Day of Prayer for the Sick. Falling on 11 February, the day’s theme is “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you” (Lk 17:19).
The Holy Father focuses on the sacraments of healing; the Sacrament of Penance – the “medicine of confession” – and the Anointing of the Sick.
Raising up the latter, Pope Benedict says:
“This sacrament deserves greater consideration today both in theological reflection and in pastoral ministry among the sick. Through a proper appreciation of the content of the liturgical prayers that are adapted to the various human situations connected with illness, and not only when a person is at the end of his or her life (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1514), the Anointing of the Sick should not be held to be almost “a minor sacrament” when compared to the others. Attention to and pastoral care for sick people, while, on the one hand, a sign of God’s tenderness towards those who are suffering, on the other brings spiritual advantage to priests and the whole Christian community as well, in the awareness that what is done to the least, is done to Jesus himself (cf. Mt25:40).”
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