A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

World Day of the Sick

Posted on: February 7, 2013

  • In: Faith | Prayer
  • Comments Off on World Day of the Sick

While visiting the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops website recently, I learned that the Church will mark the XXI World Day of the Sick on February 11th.

Pope Benedict XVI describes the purpose of this day in his message on the Vatican website:

This day represents for the sick, for health care workers, for the faithful and for all people of goodwill “a privileged time of prayer, of sharing, of offering one’s sufferings for the good of the Church, and a call for all to recognize in the features of their suffering brothers and sisters the Holy Face of Christ, who, by suffering, dying and rising has brought about the salvation of mankind” (John Paul II, Letter for the Institution of the World Day of the Sick, 13 May 1992, 3).

While we may already be praying for people on prayer request lists in our parishes, we can mark this day with prayer:

  • for people struggling with addiction, depression or suicidal thoughts;
  • for home care workers and for doctors, nurses and other staff members who care for the sick in clinics, hospitals and care centres;
  • for organizations and religious orders that provide medical care in developing countries;
  • for medical researchers and foundations that provide grants for their work; and
  • for governments to be committed to keep improving the quality of and access to health care.

And we can thank God for our own good health and that of our loved ones. I’m especially thankful that people in my family who have had serious health concerns are well again.

As individuals and as church communities, we can also continue with or begin to take practical steps to care for the sick:

  • making check-in calls or friendly visits to those who are sick, especially if they don’t have relatives in the area;
  • creating greeting cards for those who are ill. At one church I attended, a group made get-well cards to cheer those who were sick, as well as for other occasions; or
  • providing meals for families dealing with serious illness. I’ve attended a couple of churches where parishioners kept a freezer stocked with meals to be taken to families in such times of need.

When we care for the sick by remembering them in prayer and serving them in practical ways, it’s as though we care for Jesus himself, as he told us in Matthew 25:39-40:

‘And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ (Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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