Against disease, which is evil’s doing, we must have faith in God’s love, pope says
In today’s Angelus, a few days before World Day of the Sick, Benedict said that whilst treatments are needed to fight sickness, faith is “decisive”. It “can do what is humanly impossible.” In addition, “when we are sick we need human warmth. In order to bring comfort to a sick person sincere closeness is more important than words.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Disease is “a sign of Evil in the world and in man, whilst healing shows that the Kingdom of God is near.” For this reason, “the decisive underlying attitude with which to face sickness is faith” in God’s love, which radically defeats evil.
As World Day of the Sick approaches next Saturday, 11 February, Benedict XVI dedicated today’s Angelus to sickness as he commented today’s Gospel.
Speaking to the 10,000 people who had gathered in an unusually snow-covered St Peter’s Square, the Pontiff said, “Snow is beautiful but let us hope for an early spring.” In his reflection, he noted, “The four Evangelists agree that in addition to his preaching, Jesus’ main activity consisted of healing people from sickness and infirmities. Sickness is a sign of evil in the world and man, whilst healing shows that the Kingdom of God is near. Jesus came to defeat evil at its root; his healing anticipated his victory, which came with his Death and Resurrection.”
“However, sickness is a typical human condition,” he added, “which shows us our lack of self-sufficiency and our need for others. In this sense and paradoxically, sickness can be a healthy moment to experience the attention of others and pay attention to others.”
“Still, it is a trial that can be long and difficult. When healing does not occur and suffering continues, we can feel overwhelmed, isolated and become depressed and feel dehumanised. How can we react to evil’s attack? Certainly, we can follow the right treatment. Medical research has progressed by leaps and bound. However, the Word of God teaches us that the decisive underlying attitude with which to face sickness is faith. Jesus said it repeatedly to the people he healed: ‘your faith has saved you,’ (Mk, 5:34-36). Even when facing death, faith can do what is humanly impossible. Faith in what though? In God’s love. That is the true answer that radically defeats Evil.”
“As Jesus faced the Evil One with the strength of love that came from the Father, so can we face and win the trial of sickness with our heart close to God’s love. We all know people who have endured terrible suffering because God them deep serenity. The recent example of the Blessed Chiara Badano, struck down in her youth by a fatal disease, comes to mind. All those who met her received light and trust from her. However, when we are sick we need human warmth. In order to bring comfort to a sick person sincere closeness is more important than words.”
Following the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI spoke in Polish saying he wanted “to encourage the sick and those suffering to find a safe anchor in faith, nourished by listening to the Word of God, personal prayer and the Sacraments. I call on God they be accompanied by the responsive concern of family, health workers and all people of good will. May human suffering always be surrounded by love!”