Visit the sick… 20Dec2015

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My child, do not be discouraged. Let us talk in detail about everything that weighs so heavily upon your heart. Talk to Me simply, as a friend to a friend.”

Words of Jesus to Faustina recounted in her Diary, par. 1487


The 1970’s were filled with trite statements of truth intended to guide our lives. I call them trite because they were profound in their truth while simple and obvious in their declaration. One that comes to mind today is this: “Wherever you are… be there!” (See what I mean?)

Visit the sick is one of the seven Corporal Works of Mercy. Many of us practice it readily and regularly without even considering it a work of mercy. In one respect it can be a natural outgrowth of our love for another. In another way, it can be an outgrowth of our love for God expressed by caring for another we don’t know very well, our neighbor as Jesus so often described it. Either way, God’s love is evident when we perform this mercy-filled work.

There are also seven Spiritual Works of Mercy and the one related to visit the sick is, comfort the afflicted. This is not an easy work. It requires us to “be there” with the one who needs comfort. It requires us to enter into their pain and affliction and to suffer with them. That is the literal meaning of compassion: cum = with and pati = to suffer.

Luke tells us nothing of Elizabeth’s suffering but does tell us that Mary, having learned of her elderly cousin in the sixth month of her pregnancy, went “in haste” to visit her, to comfort her, to suffer with her, to talk with her and, in simpler words, to “be there” with her.

Visit the sick and comfort the afflicted are directly related to Jesus’ words to Faustina. How He desires, in the person of the sick or afflicted, to have us talk simply friend to friend. It also means listening, often times with great patience, to the words of our friend so as to enter into their suffering and be truly compassionate. Once there, we can pray with a heartfelt union, to the One who desires to hear us and simply talk to Him, friend to a friend.

Deacon Richard


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