On February 11, 2016, the Church will mark World Day of the Sick.
The Vatican Press Office released Pope Francis' statement for the 2016 Day of the Sick today, which reads in part:
"Illness, above all grave illness, always places human existence in crisis and brings with it questions that dig deep. Our first response may at times be one of rebellion: Why has this happened to me? We can feel desperate, thinking that all is lost, that things no longer have meaning."
"In these situations, faith in God is on the one hand tested, yet at the same time can reveal all of its positive resources. Not because faith makes illness, pain, or the questions which they raise, disappear, but because it offers a key by which we can discover the deepest meaning of what we are experiencing: a key that helps us to see how illness can be the way to draw nearer to Jesus who walks at our side, weighed down by the Cross. And this key is given to us by Mary, our Mother, who has known this way first hand."
As many of you know, my family, like many of your own, has been touched with serious illness. And each time a loved one has been diagnosed with an illness, I have found myself going through what Pope Francis describes: "Why has this happened?" I have often fallen into despair over all of this.
But I have also been given the grace to see, when I get beyond my "rebellion," that discovery of deep meaning of which the Pope speaks. And I often have turned to the Blessed Mother (usually when I am saying the rosary in my spin class at the gym) and pray to her under the title "Our Lady, Mother of the Afflicted."
The Holy Father uses the metaphor of the "key." I am trying so hard at times to grasp for that key. Maybe I need to go the Mother Mary more often to find it.
Have you found the "key?" How?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.