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Pope Benedict XVI Reflects on the World Day of the Sick

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer As Catholics around the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick, Pope Benedict XVI said the most profound sickness a person can suffer is the absence of God. In his Feb. 8 Angelus address, the Holy Father reminded the faithful that healing  the sick was a large part of Christ’s public ministry. "I say that these acts of healing are signs: they guide us towards Christ's message, they guide us towards God and they help us understand that man's real and most profound sickness is the absence of God, the absence of the source of truth and love.” Reflecting on Christ’s healing ministry is also an invitation to reflect on the meaning and importance of sickness in our lives. "Despite the fact that sickness forms part of the human experience", he said, "we are unable to accustom ourselves to it, not only because it is sometimes so serious and oppressive, but essentially because we are made for life, for a complete life. Rightly enough, our 'interior instinct' leads us to think of God as fullness of life, as eternal and perfect Life.” He went on to explain: "When we are tried by sickness and all our prayers seem ineffective, doubt arises within us and we ask ourselves in anguish: what is God's will? It is to this question that we find an answer in the Gospel. ... Jesus leaves us in no doubt: God - Whose face Christ Himself revealed to us - is the God of life Who frees us from all evil. The sign of His power of love is the healing He accomplishes, thus demonstrating that the Kingdom of God is near and restoring men and women to their full integrity of soul and body." The Holy Father also reminded that through the action of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ healing activity is prolonged in the Church. "Through the Sacraments it is Christ Who communicates His life to multitudes of brothers and sisters. He also heals and comforts countless sick people through the many healthcare activities which Christian communities promote with fraternal charity, thus revealing the face of God and His love." He concluded his remarks by asking the faithful to pray for the sick, especially those who are unable to look after themselves and are totally dependent upon the help of others. "May each of them experience, in the care of those near them, the power of God's love and the richness of His salvific grace.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace. http://www.womenofgrace.com

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