In sickness or health, trust in Mary’s intercession, pope says

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Trust in Mary, who urges people to believe and do what Christ says, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis holds an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard the papal flight to Brazil in 2013. The pope is deeply devoted to Mary. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis holds an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard the papal flight to Brazil in 2013. The pope is deeply devoted to Mary. (CNS/Paul Haring)

In his message for the Feb. 11, 2016, celebration of World Day of the Sick, the pope highlighted the importance of entrusting oneself to Jesus and his mercy just like Mary did and to “do whatever he tells you.”

The Vatican released the pope’s message Sept. 15, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Illness, especially serious illness, “always places human existence in crisis and brings with it questions that dig deep,” the pope wrote. While faith in God might be tested and some people might fall into despair or be angered, illness also can deepen faith, he wrote.

“Not because faith makes illness, pain or the questions which they raise disappear, but because it offers a key by which we can discover the deepest meaning of what we are experiencing; a key that helps us to see how illness can be the way to draw nearer to Jesus, who walks at our side, weighed down by the cross.”

Mary gives people that key because she has experienced this path herself firsthand, he wrote.

Jesus comes to those in need, offering his mercy and healing, the pope wrote. Mary also provides comfort and “we see reflected the tenderness of God” in her concern for her children.

“This same tenderness is present in the lives of all those persons who attend the sick and understand their needs, even the most imperceptible ones, because they look upon them with eyes full of love.”

Serving those in need “can be tiring and burdensome, yet we are certain that the Lord will surely turn our human efforts into something divine,” like he did at the wedding feast of Cana, when servants obeyed Jesus, as Mary told them to, and the water turned to wine.

“We too can be the hands, arms and hearts, which help God perform his miracles so often hidden. We too, whether healthy or sick, can offer up our toil and sufferings like the water which filled the jars at the wedding feast” and then became the finest wine, the pope wrote.

World Sick Day is marked each year on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The main 2016 celebration will be held in Nazareth in the Holy Land.

The full message in English can be found online at: https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/sick/documents/papa-francesco_20150915_giornata-malato.html

The text in Spanish can be found at: https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/es/messages/sick/documents/papa-francesco_20150915_giornata-malato.html

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