Fr. Schuessler Letter 1-22-23

Dear Friends,

                 I hope these first weeks of the New Year have been blessed for you. I would like to reflect a bit more of the   Anointing and Care of the Sick.   Reflecting on the World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis reminds us that in addition to the professional medical caring for a person’s illness, we as followers of Jesus need to accompany them in prayer and soothing encouragement. A sick person should never feel abandoned. He says in part:    
“When we go on a journey with others, it is not unusual for someone to feel sick, to have to stop because of fatigue or of some mishap along the way. It is precisely in such moments that we see how we are walking together: whether we are truly companions on the journey, or merely individuals on the same path, looking after our own interests and leaving others to “make do.” For this reason, on the thirty-first World Day of the Sick, as the whole Church journeys along the synodal path, I invite all of us to reflect on the fact that it is especially through the experience of vulnerability and illness that we can learn to walk together according to the style of God, which is closeness, compassion, and tenderness. “In the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, the Lord speaks these words that represent one of the high points of God’s  Revelation: “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God.. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak […] I will feed them with justice” (34:15-16). Experiences of bewilderment, sickness, and weakness are part of the human journey. Far from excluding us from God’s people, they bring us to the center of the Lord’s attention, for he is our Father and does not want to lose even one of his children along the way. Let us learn from him, then, how to be a community that truly walks together, capable of resisting the throwaway culture.”

—-From Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of the Sick February 11, 2023

Fr. Schuessler

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL