YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon, MARCH 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Although many doubt God's presence in their lives when facing suffering, it's actually the best time to entrust oneself even more to him, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this today upon meeting with sick people at the Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger Centre. He assured those present, "You are not alone in your pain, for Christ himself is close to all who suffer."
"Faced with suffering, sickness and death, it is tempting to cry out in pain, as Job did, whose name means 'suffering,'" the Pontiff reflected. "As our condition deteriorates, our anguish increases; some are tempted to doubt whether God is present in their lives.
"Job, however, was conscious of God’s presence; his was not a cry of rebellion, but, from the depths of his sorrow, he allowed his trust to grow.
"His friends, like each of us when faced with the suffering of a loved one, tried to console him, but they used hollow and empty words."
"In the presence of such torment," the Holy Father continued, "we feel powerless and we cannot find the right words. Before a brother or sister plunged into the mystery of the cross, a respectful and compassionate silence, a prayerful presence, a gesture of tenderness and comfort, a kind look, a smile, often achieve more than many words."
You visited me
Addressing the hospital staff and those who work in the field of health care, Benedict XVI said that by "accompanying those who suffer, through the care and attention you offer them, you accomplish an act of charity and love that God recognizes: 'I was sick, and you visited me.'"
He reminded the doctors and researchers of their "task of putting into practice every legitimate form of pain relief."
"You are called, in the first place, to protect human life, you are the defenders of life from conception to natural death," the Pope affirmed. "For every person, respect for life is a right and at the same time a duty, since all life is a gift from God."
The Pontiff urged priests and those who visit the sick to "commit themselves to an active and friendly presence in their hospital chaplaincy, or to assure an ecclesial presence in the home, for the comfort and spiritual support of the sick. In accordance with his promise, God will give you a just reward, and he will recompense you in heaven."
"I also want to express my wish that none of you should ever feel alone," the Holy Father concluded. "In fact it is the task of every human person, created in the image of Christ, to be a good neighbor to those around him."