VATICAN CITY, JULY 18, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI encouraged Catholic doctors to teach their patients the transcendent meaning of illness and suffering.
In a message sent to a congress on “Sickness and Christian Life,” which closed Sunday in Lima, Peru, the Pope urged doctors to support their patients “with an attitude of charity, teaching them to accept their human limitations and sickness, and encouraging them to offer their sufferings to the Lord, thus uniting themselves to Christ’s redemptive sacrifice.”
Such an attitude “contributes to give a view of life firmly rooted in faith and nourished by contemplation of the Cross,” the Holy Father said.
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, opened the meeting last Friday. The congress was organized by the Life and Spirituality Institute and the Association of Catholic Doctors of Peru, and held in the auditorium of the National Institute of Neoplastic Illnesses.
Vatican Radio reported that the cardinal stressed that “to approach the mystery of suffering, one cannot have ‘weak thought’ but ‘strong thought,’ which, without disdaining scientific knowledge, affirms in a meta-rational way the logic of the faith.”
The cardinal also explained that “all of us human beings are co-responsible” in the mystery of suffering.
We can choose between living in “solidarity the illness generated by original sin” or living in solidarity “in obedience to God,” he said.
“For the suffering of a person in time to acquire salvific meaning,” it must be united “to the suffering of Christ and, in him, to the whole of humanity,” added Cardinal Lozano.
This is the victorious personal practice, which “enables one to face the mystery of suffering from the perspective of the Resurrection,” he indicated.
The cardinal continued: “The only way to decipher the enigma of pain and suffering is the way of love — a love that is capable of transforming nothing into full reality. It is the profound solidarity of victorious love which resurrects, within loving solidarity, the worst suffering that kills. It is victory over death. …
“Christ gives the answer to the problem of suffering: He responds to the one who offers him all his willingness and compassion; his presence is effective; he helps, gives and gives himself.”