Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Maria, Salus infirmorum"

A quick look at the Piazza on this Roman Sunday noon showed quite the turnout -- maybe 50,000? It was about 60% full for today's Angelus.

As could be expected, the text of the catechesis focused on yesterday's observance of the World Day of the Sick. The Pope also offered warm wishes to the athletes and officials participating in the Winter Olympics in Torino....

And for the curious, no -- repeat no -- consistory was called for any date.

Per usual, the weekly Whispers translation of the Pope's talk:
Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Yesterday, 11 February, on the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, we celebrated the World Day of the Sick, which took place in Adelaide, Australia this year, the most important parts of which also included an international Conference on the always urgent theme of mental health. Illness is a common trait of the human condition, so much so that it becomes a metaphor, as St. Augustine expressed so well in one of his prayers: "Have mercy on me, Lord! See: I hide not my wounds from you. You are the healer, I, the sick man; you are merciful, I, wretched" (Confessions, X,39).

Christ is the true "healer" of humanity, who the heavenly Father sent into the world to cure man, marked in his body and spirit by sin and its consequences. On this Sunday, the Gospel of Mark presents to us the Jesus who, at the beginning of his public ministry, dedicated himself completely to preaching and the healing of the sick in the villages of Galilee. The innumerable and prodigious signs which he brought about in the sick confirm the "Good News" of the Kingdom of God. Today's Gospel passage also recounts the healing of a leper and expresses with great efficacy the intensity of the relationship between God and man, summarized in a stupendous dialogue: "If you wish, you can heal me!," says the leper. "I do will it, be healed!," replies Jesus, taking him by the hand and freeing him from his leprosy (Mk 1:40-42). We see here, in miniature, the whole of salvation history; this act of Jesus, who puts out his hand and takes the wounded body of the person who calls upon him, manifests perfectly the will of God of restoring the fallen creature, restoring life "in abundance," full, happy, eternal life. Christ is "the hand" of God outstretched to humanity, so that it may go forward from the fleeting sands of sickness and death, reawakening to walk on the solid rock of divine love (Ps. 39:2-3).

Today, I'd like to entrust to Mary "Salus infirmorum" [Health of the sick] all the sick, especially those who, in every part of the world, besides their ill health, suffer also from loneliness, sadness, and marginalization. I also send a particular thought to all those who are in hospitals and all other medical centers attending to the sick and working toward their healing. May the Holy Virgin help each and everyone of them find comfort in body and spirit through their medical assistance and the fraternal charity which makes itself known in constant and caring attention.
The Pope also congratulated Vatican Radio on this, its 75th anniversary..... "With the means of radio, and then of television," the Pope said, "the message of the Gospel and the words of the Popes have been able to reach all people quickly and easily."