18 July 2008

A "Moving" Feast

In dioceses of the United States, the Commemoration of St. Camillus de Lellis is moved from the anniversary of his death, 14th July (to allow for the Memorial of Bl. Kateri), to the 18th. As we recall this patron of doctors and of the sick who himself suffered from in infirm leg, an injury sustained in battle, it is a good reminder for us to recognize and to minister to the sick among us.
Some of us are daily surrounded with the physically sick who need our care. Others of us may not have the physically sick in our midst but surely we have people in our lives who suffer from spiritual or emotional maladies. It is not always easy to care for those who suffer. Often a person who is physically ill or who is spiritually sick and, perhaps, feels rejected or hurt can be unpleasant when approached. Yet, when one considers that it is Christ whom we serve in our suffering brothers and sisters, the inconvenience of an ill temper or the sting of having our kindness rejected or received ungratefully is easier to bear. The Lord will not ask us how our service to His people was received ... He will ask only how it was rendered. St. Francis de Sales suggests that performing our acts of charity -- all our actions, really -- in a spirit of devotion will help us to accept the sometimes challenging circumstances which we may encounter when caring for the sick.
"The world, looking on, sees that devout persons . . . minister to the sick and poor, restrain their temper, . . . and do many other things which in themselves are hard and difficult. But the world sees nothing of that inward, heartfelt devotion which makes all these actions pleasant and easy."
St. Francis de Sales

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