Vatican City, 7 December 2013 (VIS) – A message from Pope Francis, dated 6 December, for the 22nd World Day of the Sick 2014 was published on Friday. The Day will take place on 11 February 2014, liturgical memory of the Blessed Virgin Maria of Lourdes, and will take the theme “Faith and Charity: we too must give our lives for the brethren”.
The Pope mentions that the Church sees in the sick “the special presence of the suffering Christ”, and added that God has reduced and transformed sickness and suffering. “Reduced”, he writes, “because it no longer has the last word, which is instead new life in all its fullness; transformed because in union with Christ, the negative can become positive”. Jesus is the way, and with His Spirit we can follow Him. Just as the Father gave His Son for love, and the Son gave Himself for that same love, we too can love others as God has loved us, giving our lives for our brethren”.
Francis went on to mention that by Baptism and Confirmation, we are called to conform to Christ, the Good Samaritan to all those who suffer. “When we come close, with tenderness, to those in need of care, we bring the hope and the smile of God amid the contradictions of the world”. He explained that to grow in tenderness and respectful, gentle charity, the best Christian model is Mary. “She knows how to undertake this path and for this reason she is the Mother of all the sick and suffering. We are able to turn to her with trust and filial devotion, sure that she will assist and support us, and will never abandon us. She is the mother of the Risen Christ” he concluded; “she stays next to our crosses and accompanies us on the true path towards resurrection and full life”.