(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is asking people to take time out of their frenzied lives to visit the sick, spend time with them and learn from their suffering.
Marking the World Day of the Sick this Wednesday, communities, parishes, dioceses and bishops' conferences around the world will gather in prayer with Pope Francis for the suffering and their careers.
Instituted on May 13, 1992 by Saint John Paul II and celebrated every year on February 11, the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Day is a special time of sharing and pastoral outreach to people living with illness.
In his message this year- titled “I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame” (Job 29:15) - Pope Francis calls on Christians and all people of good will to have ‘wisdom of heart’, to go beyond themselves and reach out the sick.
He writes that in the rush of today’s world we can often forget the value of ‘time spent at the bedside of the sick’. He says ‘we forget about giving ourselves freely, taking care of others, being responsible for others’ adding that this masks a ‘lukewarm faith’
Pope Francis also warns against what he describes as ‘a lie’ that lurks behind certain phrases that insist on the importance of “quality of life” and which make people think that lives affected by grave illness are not worth living.
Instead, “the experience of suffering can become a privileged means of transmitting grace and a source for gaining and growing in wisdom of the heart”. This means showing solidarity without judging. “Charity takes time” concludes Pope Francis, “time to care for the sick and time to visit them. Time to be at their side”.