Overcome by Compassion
Pope John Paul II instituted the World Day of the Sick in 1992. Since then, it has been celebrated every year on February 11. This day reminds us that sick people need to be supported, encouraged and visited. Sickness can often isolate people, either because they do not want to disturb others or be a burden on them – when, in fact, this is precisely the moment when they most need accompaniment.Jesus healed many people who dared to come to him despite their illness. What they heard about him gave them the courage to approach Jesus in hope that the suffering would be more bearable. Jesus was always filled with compassion. He freed them from their suffering.
Illness is still present today. Isolation is still the lot of many persons who are suffering. We have very busy lives - too busy to just take the time. The time to approach the sick person and listen to him, comfort him, offer a loving and compassionate presence.
For the sick person, time can stretch trying to get through the pain, whether physical or psychological. So how can we make the time to be with those who are sick, to create a space for hope and gratitude? How can we embrace the beauty and the pain which arises in our encounter with one who is suffering? How can we walk with a sick person, even when their behavior might bother us?
For example, let us look at Jesus who had compassion for the leper who begged him for healing. Jesus raised him to his feet and healed him. We do not have that power of healing like Jesus but we can be his face of compassion and love for those who need it so much.
I believe that we must be empathetic and attentive to the upheavals that the sick. To be able to read in their words and actions, the pain that inhabits them. Above all, we must pray for them. The strength of prayer is the only one we have in abundance. Pray for the sick and pray that God will give us the strength to accompany them in good times, and in bad.