February 07, 2012

World Day of the Sick (February 11th)

The aim of the MIA Vision is to keep alive the founding spirit of Catherine among peoples of the world most in need of God’s compassion and mercy. When she founded the Mercy Congregation, the focus of Catherine’s care was ‘the poor, sick and neglected’ and her followers continue ministry in these areas right up to this day. Around the world there are thousands of Mercy men and women ministering in health care. It is therefore very fitting that we celebrate the ministry of care of the sick on February 11th which is now recognised as World Day of the Sick.

World Day of the Sick has three consistent themes. First, it reminds us to pray intensely and sincerely for those who are sick. Perhaps you might like to visit this page, where you will find requests for prayers through Catherine’s intercession for people who are sick. You might also like to pray at Catherine’s grave or in her chapel for the ailing people you know. You can do this virtually by linking here or here.

Second, the celebration invites us to reflect on and respond to human suffering. On this day in particular, we focus on the redemptive value of human suffering and on the important role of those who are sick in the work of spreading the Gospel. Whether it is one’s own illness, loneliness or pain, or that of a loved one, it creates a special bond with Christ’s Paschal Mystery and also with the suffering people of the world and those who minister to them.

And third, this day recognizes and honours all persons who work in health care and minister as caregivers. In his message for World Day of the Sick, Pope Benedict referred to caregivers of the sick as a ‘sign and instrument of Christ's compassion’. The Pope’s words echo the words of Catherine and it is fitting on this day that all Mercy people, engaged in care of the sick, recall some of her challenging words:

During his mortal life our Divine Lord always evinced the greatest compassion for the sick ...he allows us so graciously to assist Him.

Gratitude and humility for being permitted to assist Jesus Christ in his suffering members are the principal sentiments which success ought to awaken in our hearts.

Act with great tenderness ...removing all anxiety from the mind of the sick so that they may be able with tranquillity to give every thought to God alone.

We offer you this prayer for World Day for the Sick:

 

God of Love and Mercy,
you inspired Catherine McAuley,
to serve your Son by responding
to the needs of her time.
Moved by her care for the sick,
we ask that through her prayers
you reach out with your
healing love and restore [insert name]
to full health.
We ask this in complete
confidence through Jesus Christ, your Son.

Amen.

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