John Paul II and the Meaning in Suffering


Believers are called to develop the insight of faith, as they look at the sublime and mysterious value of life, even when it seems frail and vulnerable. “This outlook does not give in to discouragement when confronted by those who are sick, suffering, outcast, or at death’s door. Instead, in all these circumstances it is open to perceiving in the face of every person a call to encounter, dialogue and solidarity.” (Evangelium Vitae). This task especially involves health professionals: doctors, pharmacists, nurses, chaplains, men and women religious, administrators, and volunteer workers who, by virtue of their profession, are called in a special capacity to be guardians of human life. However, it also calls into question every other human being, starting with the relatives of the sick person. They know that “the request which arises from the human heart in the supreme confrontation with suffering and death, especially when faced with the temptation to give up in utter desperation, is above all a request for companionship, sympathy, and support in the time of trial. It is a plea for help to keep on hoping when all human hopes fail.” (Evangelium Vitae)

-St. John Paul II, Message for World Day of the Sick, Castel Gandolfo, August 6, 1999


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