Today is World Day of Prayer for the Sick, an observation introduced by Pope John Paul II as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses. The day coincides with the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes and is an important opportunity for those who serve in Catholic health ministry to reflect on caring for those who are sick as well as those who provide care to them.
Prayer for the Sick and Caregivers
Tender and merciful God, you watch over your creatures with unfailing care, keep us in the safe embrace of your love. With your strong right hand, make whole all who are suffering. Give them the strength of your power and the stillness of your peace. Minister to them through the compassionate service of others and heal their every affliction. Fill those who serve the sick with new hope and joy for the good they do in your name.
In his message for the 2020 World Day of the Sick, our Holy Father writes, in part, of the frailty and suffering of Jesus: "...he himself became frail, endured human suffering and received comfort from his Father. Indeed, only those who personally experience suffering are then able to comfort others. There are so many kinds of grave suffering: incurable and chronic diseases, psychological diseases, situations calling for rehabilitation or palliative care, numerous forms of disability, children’s or geriatric diseases… At times human warmth is lacking in our approach to these. What is needed is a personalized approach to the sick, not just of curing but also of caring, in view of an integral human healing. In experiencing illness, individuals not only feel threatened in their physical integrity, but also in the relational, intellectual, affective and spiritual dimensions of their lives. For this reason, in addition to therapy and support, they expect care and attention. In a word, love.