11/26/2011, 00.00
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Pope: John Paul II’s Calvary a model for health care workers

Benedict XVI points to the Polish pope who in his physical weakness, and stripped of everything, became "as his only Lord and Master, who from the Cross became a point of attraction and salvation for humanity." "The mystery of pain seems to blur the face of God, identifying him as being responsible for human suffering, but the eyes of faith are able to look deeply into this mystery."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The important mission of the Church" in pastoral healthcare finds inspiration in the teaching of Blessed John Paul II, but especially in his testimony of the "slow Calvary, which marked his last years”, with a "vision of pain and suffering illuminated by the death and resurrection of Christ." This is what Benedict XVI today proposed to the participants at a audience for the Pontifical Council for pastoral healthcare professionals.

The meeting, which opened two days ago in the Vatican, is in its 26th edition. This year it is entitled "Pastoral health care at the service of life in the light of the teaching of Blessed John Paul II" and saw the participation of 685 persons, representing 70 countries.

Benedict XVI recalled the commitment of the Polish pope to the sick, the establishment of the Pontifical Council for healthcare professionals in 1985, the Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris of 1986, the Proclamation of World Day for the Sick 20 years ago, the " The Good Samaritan, " foundation " as an instrument of a new charitable outreach to the sick and poor in different countries. " All his works - explained the pope - is a "Gospel of Life" in which "Blessed John Paul II declared that the service to the sick person in body and spirit constitutes a constant commitment of attention and evangelization for the whole Church community, according to the mandate of Jesus to the Twelve to heal the sick (cf. Lk 9.2). "

"Suffering - Benedict XVI added, citing Salvifici Doloris - seems to belong to man's transcendence: it is one of those points in which man is in a certain sense "destined" to go beyond himself, and he is called to this in a mysterious way."(No. 2).

He added: "The mystery of suffering seems to blur the face of God, making Him almost a stranger, or even identifying him as being responsible for human suffering, but the eyes of faith are able to look deeply into this mystery. God became incarnate, he came to be close to man, even in the most difficult situations, He did not eliminate suffering, but in the Risen Crucified One, the Son of God suffered unto death, even death on a cross, He reveals that His love goes even deeper into the abyss of man to give him hope. The Crucified is risen, death has been illuminated by the morning of Easter: 'God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life' (Jn 3.16). Born of the mystery of Redemption in the Cross of Christ, the Church has to try to meet man in a special way on the path of his suffering. In this meeting man "becomes the way for the Church", and this way is one of the most important ones '(Salvifici Doloris, n. 3). "

But it is above the personal testimony of the last years of John Paul II’s life that teach us this: "An unshakable faith pervaded his physical weakness, making his illness, lived for love of God, the Church and the world, a actual participation in the journey of Christ to Calvary. The following of Christ did not spare the Blessed John Paul II to take up his cross every day until the end, to be like his only Master and Lord, who from the Cross has become a point of attraction and salvation for humanity (cf. Jn 12.32, 19.37) and manifested his glory (cf. Mk 15:39). In the homily during the Mass for the Beatification of my venerable Predecessor I remembered how the Lord gradually stripped him of everything, yet he remained ever a “rock”, as Christ desired. His profound humility, grounded in close union with Christ, enabled him to continue to lead the Church and to give to the world a message which became all the more eloquent as his physical strength declined (Homily, 1st May 2011 ). "

Benedict XVI reminded healthcare professionals that "accompanying, being close to and caring for sick brothers and sisters, who are often tried not only by physical wounds, but also spiritual and moral ones, puts you in a privileged position to witness the action God's saving love for man and the world, embracing even the most painful and terrible. "

He urged them to make a " treasure of the testimony Blessed John Paul II lived through his own flesh", urging all to "discover the glorious tree of the Cross of Christ ', the completion and full revelation of the whole Gospel of life' ( Enc. Evangelium Vitae, 50). Only if I serve my neighbour can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me (Encyclical Letter. Deus Caritas Est, 18) ".

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