“Take care of him”: Compassion as synodal exercise of healing
On the thirty first World Day of the Sick (February 11, 2023), we welcome the invitation of Pope Francis in his message: “through the experience of vulnerability and illness we can learn to walk together according to the style of God, which is closeness, compassion, and tenderness”.
Closeness, compassion and tenderness are values we all wish to have, of which we benefit willingly and with pleasure.
The invitation we welcome is to give to others, through ourselves, these values and experience, only by selfgiving, what closeness, compassion and tenderness are.
We propose to visit a sick person or someone who is going through a suffering time. Certainly there are close neighbors who are living this painful situation. Visiting them, meeting them personally is the first step to proceed on together.
Prior to the visit, we prepare ourselves spending some time in silence, alone, reflecting on and praying how we will act, moved by compassion and tenderness, during the visit.
With much discretion and gentleness, we’ll ask them if there is a need of some service we can render to them: a little tidying up at home, shopping, or any other need that will render concrete our wish to share some good.
We propose them to do together a small reflection on life and how to live in the best way possible the difficult time of suffering.
If we share the Christian faith we can read from the Gospel of Luke the episode of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10,29-37), or simply remember it, highlighting those facts and teachings that speak to our heart. If the recalling 2 of the Gospel is not appropriate, we can share experiences, hopes, all that we live that can help us being in solidarity, united in the same journey of life.
Before reading the Gospel let us light a candle while singing Alleluiah. Then, we can read, as a brief commentary, this section from the Message of the Holy Father for the World Day of the Sick 2023: “The Samaritan calls the innkeeper to “take care of him” (Lk 10:35). Jesus addresses the same call to each of us. He exhorts us to “go and do likewise” (Lk 10:37). As I noted in Fratelli Tutti, “The parable shows us how a community can be rebuilt by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of exclusion, and act instead as neighbours, lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good” (No. 67). Indeed, “we were created for a fulfilment that can only be found in love. We cannot be indifferent to suffering” (No. 68)
After the reading it is very important to have a time of dialogue where, especially the sick person, can express herself/himself freely, feel that she/her is listened to and welcomed. Theirs are words of compassion towards us and help us to be humble, in solidarity, protagonists together of a shared journey.
Let us give space and remember those absent, those we know need urgently our closeness, compassion and tenderness.
Let us freely voice our intentions of prayer owing good truly universal, perhaps only mentioning their names or hinting very discreetly to their situations.
We conclude our moment of prayer by singing the Our Father, a prayer that makes us truly universal in mind, heart and in doing good.
Let us try to find a possible continuity in our attention towards those we visited. Let us not make it and isolated episode, meaningful but isolated, in our faith journey.
The World Day of the Sick ends, but our journey in life never ends. Let us fulfill it together with closeness, compassion and tenderness.
Silent Workers of the Cross