People never ever lose their humanity. Even when they are seriously ill, they remain human beings, with a special gift to share with others.
Pope Francis underscored the inalienable dignity and uniqueness of each one of us in his annual message for the World Day of the Sick, marked by the Church on 11 February.
Recalling the apparition of Mary Immaculate to St Bernadette in Lourdes, a focal point for commemoration of the World Day of the Sick, the pope said: “St Bernadette, poor, illiterate and ill, felt that Mary was looking at her as a person. The Lovely Lady spoke to her with great respect and without condescension. This reminds us that every person is, and always remains, a human being, and is to be treated as such.”
Pope Francis asked for the grace “always to relate to the sick as persons who certainly need assistance… but who have a gift of their own to share with others.”
The theme of this year’s World Day of the Sick is Amazement at what God has accomplished: “The Almighty has done great things for me…” (Lk 1:49)
The pope said the celebration gave the Church “renewed spiritual energy for carrying out ever more fully that fundamental part of her mission which includes serving the poor, the infirm, the suffering, the outcast and the marginalized.”
He expressed his closeness to all who are suffering and their families, as well as his appreciation for those who serve them: “I once more offer my prayerful support and encouragement to physicians, nurses, volunteers and all those consecrated men and women committed to serving the sick and those in need. I also embrace the ecclesial and civil institutions working to this end, and the families who take loving care of their sick.”