The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, called on the sick to offer their sufferings so that the country's young people might open their hearts to the Gospel.

The cardinal made his remarks on Oct.13 during Mass for the Annual Pilgrimage of the Sick to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He encouraged those struggling with illnesses to offer their suffering for the 2013 Youth Mission that will take place in Mexico.

“In the Archdiocese of Mexico City, we wish to participate in this Year of Faith proclaiming this faith to young people especially, but we know that our work will be fruitless without your prayers,” he said, according to the News Service of the Archdiocese of Mexico City.

Offer your sufferings, your pains and your anxieties for our young people, that they might open their hearts to the proclamation of the Gospel.”

The cardinal said God allows suffering, first of all, for our own salvation, since “when we continuously experience it, it purifies us, changes our outlook and the way in which we see and appreciate life.”

Although it is hard for the human being to see the “connection” between suffering and salvation, “God does know this secret, this intimate relationship, but moreover, it is something we can continuously sense,” he said.

Amid pain and suffering, many people come to understand things they were unable to grasp while in perfect health.  

And that is because “eternal life begins here, when amidst our pain we appreciate life, we discover aspects about it we had not understood, and this makes us feel a joy that others cannot understand.”

For this reason, he called on the sick to discover the joy of knowing not only that their suffering is for their own purification and hope for eternal life, but also that they are intimately united to Christ, to that “Man of sorrows, accustomed to suffering, who by his wounds has healed us.”

Cardinal Rivera thanked those who care for the sick and the members of the Order of Malta, which organizes the pilgrimage of the sick to the Basilica of Guadalupe each year.