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"Visit the sick"

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“Come, you who are blessed by my Father…I was sick and you visited me” (Matthew 25:36)

With this fifth work of corporal mercy we touch in a perceptible way on the dignity of a person. In the disease, it is possible to perceive all human weakness. It is in his bed of pain that the patient lives the (most)  spiritual dimension of his existence, since he can no longer trust on his own physical strength.

In fact, even if his will remains alive it is his ailing body that dictates and gives orders for a change of requirements that depends on the disease by placing the sick person and those who are around him in a situation of disorientation. The news of a disease, especially if severe, is destabilizing for the whole family, for those lucky to possess one. It always comes upon us unexpectedly and puts a strain on the acceptance of it.

Infirm, from the Latin in-firmus, that is lack of firmness. This can be referred to the situation of the bedridden person, of the elderly and all those who are not self-sufficient and in need of care and support, but also to the people around him who consequently live debilitating moments, often psychological, emotional as well as practical and caring.

The act of visiting the sick is coping with awareness the difficulties in which the suffering person experiences and bringing relief, without setting ourselves up as saviors but by doing what he himself requires. It means to listen and be guided by his requests, to accompany him along this unhappy and delicate phase of his existence, taking care not to impose ourselves harshly, because full of certainties and knowledge or showing an exaggerated piety. This may be adverse to the sick person deserving the reproach of miserable comforters (Job 16:2), and hypocrites, for they are convinced that they know what the sick needs and think to possess the right qualities for  an effective consolation.

The risk of failure is therefore very high if we don’t take into consideration that the sick are people with their own dignity  before anything else, and their illness makes them even more worthy of attention and affection on the part of God: in each one of them there is His suffering Son "He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases" (Mt 8:17).

The success of the relationship between the visitor and patient depends a lot on how the visitor is able to "get closer" to the sick, to win his confidence, through silence, the sincerity of mind, especially through his own involvement in suffering, even in "disorder" that becomes part of the ill. His life loses the daily habits and prepares to welcome the novelty to which he must adapt  himself with renunciation and sacrifice.


The sick "asks" to be accepted with his helplessness in his own situation, to be considered for what he was: a father, a son, and not a burden. His greatest desire is to be loved and heard, even when he is faced with requests that others do not agree, so that he is given back the freedom that his body now denies him and this would help him to feel more part of the outside world. This is his consolation, surrendering himself to hope.

The visitor thus represents for the patient the point of reference and contact with the outside world, relieving him in some way from the torment of loneliness and fear, the same fears experienced by Jesus in His Passion, which inevitably arise  when we are in a state of total disability.

But how much good the visitor himself receives trough this work of charity that unites him to the ill in the merciful embrace of God in the figure of the Son Jesus who is always ready to relieve any kind of weakness of body and spirit. Jesus, in His goodness can’t remain indifferent to the pain, but He feels moved to bring relief, to relieve the suffering of his friends and those who go toward Him, especially He takes part in others' afflictions: he wept at Lazarus tomb (Jn. 11:35) and was moved with great compassion on the widow of Nain (Lk. 7:13).

Visiting the sick implies a donation, a despoiling from the visitor, to which it’s is the patient himself who leads him to put on the helplessness and poverty of the other. This is a prerequisite  to meet the other person, to encounter Christ and be like Him who "though He was rich, yet He became poor" (2 Cor. 8:9).

In the poor, in the suffering person the flesh of Christ “becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled… to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us”  (Pope Francis).

Jesus himself told Luisa that the charity most acceptable to Him is toward those who are closest to Him, the purging souls, because they are confirmed in His grace and there is no opposition between His Will and theirs. They ardently love Him, they live continuously in Him, and He is forced to see them suffer within Himself, impotent to give themselves the slightest relief on their own.

The second charity most acceptable to His Heart is for those who are in need on this earth.  So those who  interest themselves with these souls, incapable of helping themselves on their own, are pleasing to His Heart

Saint Camillus de Lellis "the Saint of the Sick" was a commendable example among the witnesses of charity toward the sick. He matured his calling to take care of the sick in the hospital where he went to cure himself. Its "Company of the Servants of the Sick" was recognized in 1591 as a new religious order and in addition to the three canonical votes, he added a fourth vow, “to serve the sick, even with danger to one's own life”.

Luisa, in her mission, proceeding in her life “upside down”, as she herself said, even if she wasn’t sick she became one for the Divine Will. Her participation in the sufferings of the Passion of Jesus had a purpose: the salvation of mankind.

Like Jesus, Luisa in union with Him, lived a continuous offering of herself, through the suffering to which she voluntarily subjected herself to alleviate the suffering of her Beloved and console Him with her love. Jesus, on His part,  sustained her in her sufferings and consoled her when Luisa seems to worry herself for the apparent uselessness of her state of  victim.

In the light of the Divine Will pain and suffering acquire an active, joyful value. These are visits of Jesus to the soul. It’s Jesus in the pain, who visits the creature; It is He, hidden in the necessities, who visits the creature. Each circumstance is a visit of Jesus to the creature, to give her what she needs.

Visiting the sick and being visited means to experience the presence of Jesus always next to us. It’s a presence that is consolation, confidence and peace, as with the oil of the sick, the suffering person experiences more than ever the visit of Jesus that brings peace and relief of body and spirit.


Let us ask the Virgin Mary

Consoler of the afflicted,

Health of the sick

that She may grant us always her maternal comfort.




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