MOTHER MARY, HEALTH OF THE SICK, COMFORTER OF THE AFFLICTED, HELP US OFFER TO JESUS OUR PAIN AND ILLNESS, AND SANCTIFY THEM.
And the mother of Jesus was there (cf John 2:1). How marvellous it is to see the many different kinds of people who go to shrines of Our Lady and seek her intercession. Perhaps a good number of them would not have asked her help if they had not become ill or burdened with difficulties.
Pope John Paul II has asked in this regard: Why is it precisely the sick who go on pilgrimage to Lourdes? Why -we wonder – has that place become for them almost a ‘Cana of Galilee’, to which they feel invited particularly? What thaws them to Lourdes with such power?… Because they know that as at Cana, ‘the mother of Jesus is there’: and where she is, her Son cannot fail to be. This is the certainty that moves the multitudes who pour into Lourdes every year in search of relief comfort and hope…
The miraculous cure remains, however, in spite of everything, an exceptional event. Christ’s salvific power, propitiated by the intercession of his Mother, is revealed at Lourdes particularly in the spiritual sphere. It is in the hearts of the sick that Mary makes the thaumaturgic voice of her Son heard: a voice that dissolves miraculously the stiffening of bitterness and rebellion, and restores eyes to the soul to see in a new light the world, others and one’s own destiny (John Paul II, Homily, 11 February 1980).
Mary always leads us to her Son who has a special love for the sick. Saint Peter summarized the life of Christ with these few words: Jesus of Nazareth … went about doing good and healing all (Acts 10:38)… Evangelists never seem to tire of describing the Master’s solicitude for the sick and the suffering. Christ dedicated a large portion of his ministry on earth to sick people. He was sensitive to every human suffering whether of the body or of the soul (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter, Salvifici doloris, 11 February 1984). The Lord is compassionate yet he wants us to use the means at our disposal. He will never test us beyond our strength. He will always give us sufficient graces so that difficult circumstances will only serve to draw us and our friends closer to him. We can certainly ask the Lord to cure our infirmities or resolve our problems. Above all, we need to ask him to make us more docile to his grace, to increase our faith, hope and charity.
We should put our pains and sufferings into the hands of God. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow will have anxieties of its own. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matt 6:34). We cannot forget that all of us are called to suffer in this life, though not all in the same manner or to the same degree. Each one has to correspond generously to the will of God for him or her. Suffering which in the eyes of men is so disagreeable, can indeed be a fountain of sanctification and apostolate when it is united to Jesus (A. Tanquerey, The divinization of suffering, Madrid 1955). We have here an opportunity to co-redeem with Jesus, to feel ourselves to be sons of God in a very special way.
Let us go wholeheartedly to Mary. She will always be there at our side. She will get us what we want or what we need, so that good might be drawn from evil. Great good can be drawn from great evil. No matter what our situation may be, she will never fail to give us consolation. Consolatrix afflictorum, Salus infirmorum, Auxilium christianorum … ora pro eis… ora pro me. Come to our aid in our time of trial, God of mercy. On this feast of the Immaculate Mother of your Son, grant that through her intercession we might be freed from our sing (Divine Office, Closing prayer of Morning Prayer).
EXCERPT FROM F. FERNANDEZ-CARVAJAL, “In Conversation with God”, vol. 6, 17.3