Learn how to pray for the sick and learn how Jesus prayed for the sick.
Let's help those who need it most today
The Spanish dictionary says that compassion is the "feeling of commiseration and pity towards those who suffer hardship or misfortune". True compassion towards those in need is expected of every person, because compassion is proper to "humanity".
Being capable of compassion makes us in solidarity with others, increases our mind and heart, makes us greater. The truly "great" of all times have been the merciful, those capable of experiencing true compassion.
True compassion moves not only to sentiment but also to action; and it can lead to the giving of one's own life, in concrete details and on a daily basis, for the sake of others. This is so because, above all, compassion is an essential characteristic of God and his work.
"The greatest misery consists in not knowing how to love. Those who are blind and deaf to the needs of others, of the sick and the poor, those who look the other way and care only for themselves" St. Teresa of Calcutta.
The meaning of the picture
This painting was in a convent where the sick people affected by the epidemics of bubonic plague during the late Middle Ages were sent. "The crucified man, Ratzinger points out, is represented as one of them, tortured by the greatest pain of that time, his whole body riddled with buboes from the plague."
Ratizinger also admits that, frequently, the Passion and the Cross of Jesus are scary, because they seem like the negation of life. "In reality, it is exactly the opposite! The Cross is God's 'yes' to man, the highest and most intense expression of his love and the source from which eternal life flows.
From the pierced heart of Jesus has sprung this divine life. He alone is capable of liberating the world from evil and of making his Kingdom of justice, peace and love, to which we all aspire, grow".
Compassion for the sick
To be compassionate with the sick and needy in these times of difficulty is to pray for them and with them praying, for example: "Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. In your wounds, hide me. From the evil enemy, defend me. At the hour of my death, call me." Fragment of a Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Jesus and the sick
In many passages of Holy Scripture it is shown how Jesus prayed for the sick and submitted to the will of his father. He kept in communication with the Father and followed his direction and guidance in all that he did and said. (John 5:17-18; John 8:26).
|Disease||Biblical reference||The request||What did Jesus do, how did he pray for the sick?|
|Leprosy||Matthew 8:1-4||Lord, if you want to, you can clean me.||I do," he said. It's clean!|
|Paralysis||Matthew 8:5-13||(The centurion said:) Sir, my servant is prostrate at home with palsy, and he suffers terribly.||He offered to go and heal him, but the centurion said he trusted in the authority of Jesus' word. Jesus then said, "Go! Everything will be done just as you believed."|
|Fever||Matthew 8:14-15||Jesus saw Peter's mother-in-law who was sick.||He just touched it.|
|Blindness||John 9:1-7||The disciples asked Jesus, "Rabbi, for this man to have been born blind, who sinned, he or his parents?"||Jesus answered them, "Neither he sinned, nor his parents, but this happened so that the work of God might become evident in his life." He spat on the ground, made mud with the spittle and smeared it on the blind man's eyes, telling him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam.|
|Disability||John 5:1-9||Jesus noticed him among many sick people at the pool of Bethesda.||Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed; the sick man answered with excuses, but Jesus said to him, "Rise, pick up your mat and walk.|
|Paralytic hand||Matthew 12:9-14||Jesus saw the man as he entered the synagogue.||Jesus told him to stretch out his hand.|
|Deaf-mutism||Mark 7:31-37||Others brought him to Jesus and they begged him to lay his hand on the deaf and dumb man.||Jesus took the sick man aside, put his fingers in his ears and touched his tongue with saliva. He looked up to heaven, sighed, and said, "Open up."|
|Blood Flow||Matthew 9:20-22||She touched the hem of Jesus' garment while thinking, "If I can at least touch his garment, I will be healed".||Jesus turned and saw her and said to her, "Courage, daughter! Your faith has healed you.|
D. Ramiro Pellitero IglesiasProfessor of Pastoral Theology, School of Theology, University of Navarra.