Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez Botello of Antequera-Oaxaca, Mexico recently recalled that illness is an opportunity to appreciate life and to unite the family in difficult times.
The archbishop spoke in a reflection published Feb. 7 for the upcoming World Day for the Sick. Archbishop Chavez Botello cited Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the day, in which he “calls for a new approach to the suffering of millions of brothers and sisters.
“He invites us to show compassion, not in the sense of pity but in sharing the experience of the sick moved by love.”
The World Day for the Sick will be celebrated Feb. 11.
The archbishop also expressed the need to handle suffering with an attitude of hope. He added that the Pope calls “on society to accept suffering, on young people to understand it, and on our leaders to invest more in healthcare structures that support those who are suffering, especially the poor and those in need.”
“For many, illness has been an opportunity to reflect and appreciate life more, to even have a new perspective and live more responsibility and usefully. This has been the case for many handicapped or chronically ill people who go on living with a different attitude and purpose, overcoming themselves, serving others and doing good,” the archbishop said.
He noted that many people struck by illness “bring out the good in every person: solidarity, comfort, support, friendship, love. Sometimes a limitation or chronic illness becomes the bond that reunites a marriage and gives a new drive and meaning to our actions.”