At some point in our lives, you and I have likely been called to wipe a nose, change a diaper, hug and sooth, or apply ointment in order to help a child calm down in the midst of their distress. Or was it to calm US down?
Additionally, we probably have been asked to wipe a nose, change a diaper, embrace and massage or apply ointment to bring a little comfort to a friend, spouse, partner or parent. Or was it to comfort US?
When we are at our best as people, often we find our hearts moved while witnessing someone in need, someone who needs US. God has blessed us with gifts we did not realize are in our possession. While caring for others, we purposely lose sight of our own needs—amazing what we are capable of when this happens!
There is such inner joy in charging ourselves to discern ways to bring comfort to someone who may have greater challenges than expected. Innately our hearts call out for us to extend a helping hand: a hand up, a hand of friendship, a hand of blessing, a healing hand.
Then there are days when WE may struggle with something as simple as the light of dawn or as complex as how to go on living another day. We struggle with the pressures of family, work, career, finances or relationships. Any meaning in our lives is not unclear, it is just not anywhere in sight. Why are we even here? We find that our own hearts are calling out for someone to extend us a helping hand: a hand up, a hand of friendship, a hand of blessing, a healing hand. We may wonder if God loves us, if anyone loves us.
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are called upon to VISIT THE SICK. The Pope asks us to open our hearts and minds to those around us and extend a helping hand. Some interpret this to mean allow the healers in our midst, our pilgrim physicians, to apply the ointment, the balm of kindness as well as the massage, and the caress of the hand of God to comfort US on the journey, those next to us and those on the margins. But what about the things we do in our lives on a daily or weekly basis, often without even thinking twice?
Each one of us is, in fact, encompasses the pilgrim physician in our personal, daily care of family and friends. Within our church, parish ministries visit the sick in our hospitals, our nursing homes and our homebound. This calling, however, can extend beyond just visiting the sick. We are grateful for those of the St. Brigid Needlework Group and St. Joseph’s Women who pray and craft knitted and sewn gifts of comfort to those who are ill. These ministries welcome any who wish to share these talents.
Wherever we are in life, chances are this call to mercy is already instilled within our lifestyle. We are giving and receiving the helping hand.