Pope to the Camillians: Look at suffering, illness with the eyes of Jesus

In his address to the Order of Ministers of the Sick, Pope Francis encourages Camillians in their ministry and stresses the importance of looking at the reality of suffering, sickness and death through the eyes of Jesus.

By Benedict Mayaki, SJ

Pope Francis addressed Monday the members of the Order of Ministers of the Sick (Camillians) gathered for the 59and General Chapter of their congregation.

Addressing his greetings to the participants in the Chapter, the Holy Father greeted, in particular, the new Superior General of the Camillians, Fr. Pedro Tramontin, to whom he wished the best in his ministry.

Camillian prophecy today

Pointing to the theme of the General Chapter: “What is Camillian prophecy today? Pope Francis noted that the religious order proposes to find new ways of evangelization and closeness, in order to carry out with fidelity their charism of being at the service of the sick. The Camillians also seek to be animated by the grace proper to a Chapter, and in listening to the Spirit, to our brothers and sisters, and to history.

He said that Saint Camillus de Lellis felt the call to give life to this religious family that would live the commandment of love by proclaiming the Gospel and caring for the sick, in imitation of compassion and tenderness. of Jesus towards those who suffer in the body. and spirit.

Christian response to our time

The Pope noted that our times are “marked by an individualism and indifference that generate loneliness and result in the abandonment of many lives.”

Faced with this, “the Christian response does not lie in resigned observation of the present or in nostalgic regret for the past”, declared Pope Francis, but rather “in charity which, animated by trust in Providence, knows love his time and, with humility, bears witness to the Gospel.

Good Samaritan model

Reflecting on the life of the founder of the Congregation, the Pope said that Saint Camillus de Lellis – one of the figures who best embody the style of the Good Samaritan – performed the act of “being close to his brother injured [and sister] along the way.

The Pope then charged the Camillians with the “gift and the task” of being inspired by the saint to “look at the reality of suffering, sickness and death with the eyes of Jesus”, and thus make the prophecy camillian and “embodied prophecy” – one that impels us to shoulder the burdens, wounds and anxieties of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.

This, underlined the Pope, passes through “a docile openness to the Holy Spirit” which is the soul of apostolic dynamism, and a certain “boldness” to discover unexplored paths or to express the potentialities of the ministry and of the Camillian charisms under new forms. .

Two dimensions of the Christian life

The Holy Father went on to note that the style and apostolate of the Camillians recall two essential dimensions of Christian life: the desire for an outgoing and concrete witness to others, and the need to understand oneself by using the Gospel value of smallness as the key to self-understanding.

In this regard, he invited them to draw on the Beatitudes, to bring the good news to the poor “with gentleness and simplicity”, and to refresh each other in the confidence that a good done to a suffering brother or sister is a “gift to Jesus himself.

“And do not neglect to cherish the memory of the first love with which Jesus conquered your heart, in order to always renew your choice of consecrated life from the roots,” Pope Francis urged.

Following the creative solicitude of Saint Camillus, the Holy Father encouraged them to collaborate with the Holy Spirit, seeking in every way to live his charism of mercy, valuing collaboration with the laity, and in particular the workers of health. He also enjoined them to cultivate among themselves and with everyone, “the spirituality of communion which will help to better discern what the Lord expects of you”.

Gratitude

Concluding his speech, the Pope thanked the Camillians for what they are and what they do in the Church, noting that we cannot do without the charism of Saint Camillus de Lellis if we want to offer people a good “field hospital” where the wounded can experience and feel the closeness and tenderness of Christ.

“It is up to you to give hands, feet, mind and heart to this gift of God, so that it may continue to inspire the works of God in our time,” Pope Francis said.

Finally, with a request for prayers for himself, the Pope invoked the blessings of Our Lord and the intercession of Our Lady upon the Chapter.

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