On Being Sick

You might think that, with my personal history, I’d be a great fan of today’s feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, but I have to admit that I’m not. It isn’t that I don’t love Our Lady — I do — nor that I am indifferent to Lourdes, but somehow the shrine at Holywell fits better with my way of understanding things, and the Rule of St Benedict helps me further. St Benedict has a lot to say about the care of the sick and the reciprocity that should exist between carer and cared-for. I like the fact that he includes the wayward and the weak among those he thinks of as being in need of healing. It takes us away from too narrow a definition of sickness, and it prevents even the youngest and strongest among us from thinking of the sick as being everyone but themselves!

Over the week-end we received numerous requests for prayer for the sick, some of them heart-breaking. No matter how busy you are today, please spare a moment or two to pray for them. Pray as one of the sick yourself, and you will discover that you are being healed, too.


8 thoughts on “On Being Sick”

  1. that is a very helpful and perceptive message to offer, thank you: we pray in church for those who are sick – and now that will have a very different depth of prayer attached

  2. Sister Catherine, a good message today. During my personal intercessions I pray for all who are ill but especially people close to me. I also thank God for the doctors & nurses who treat them because their skills & compassion are gifts from God. They are the hands of God.

  3. I struggle every day with this as I work with the sick. Even at my church, most of the people are sick. I’m a thin white privileged woman, never had to want for anything. Let’s face it, I stick out like a sore thumb.
    The gifts that are always given to me are clothes and winks from the men! But I love my God, and My calling is to serve in this way. So what to do.. I’m the best dressed women in town Now! Thank you and Blessings

  4. I can remember from my younger days those who went on pilgrimage to Lourdes and the many stories of healing that were often published locally or even in the Universe.

    The Forces had a separate pilgrimage each year, led by a Catholic Chaplain and with many volunteer helpers. I never actually got to help as there always seemed to be an operational commitment of one sort or another which got in the way, but I do remember praying for those going, not hoping for miracle curse, rather that their spiritual needs might be in some way helped by the experience.

    While I don’t work directly with the sick, I do work alongside some who do in a pastoral capacity, often just being a listening ear. Being an attentive listener is something we can all do, and often, that is one need that for the sick or needy, is not met. Some might say that it is a miracle that I have the patience to listen, for the umpteenth time the same tale of woe or worry, pain or grief, but I treat each time as the first time, because there is always a tiny detail missed the first time around, which assists in understanding why and how someone is enduring or living with the issues they face, day to day.

    What those who scoff at what I do, miss is the privilege and the Grace of God that is shared on those occasions, he is listening along and already knows what will be said, but that grace and company in the conversation is precious to both the listener and the listened to, particularly if they are treated as a prayer.

    How many pilgrimages can be made at home, in the street, in church, in cafe, on the bus, train or taxi, if we only have both ears attuned to what God might be doing with and for others and for us as well.

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