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Pope urges doctors not to be discouraged

Pope receives a delegation of physicians, and the sick, on the occasion of the World Day of the Sick (Vatican Media/Vatican News)

Pope Francis urged medical doctors not to be discouraged, addressing the representatives of the medical area of the Health Pastoral Office of the Diocese of Rome on Thursday in the Vatican.

"Being close to those in pain is difficult, you know that well. That is why I say to you: do not be discouraged!" he stressed.

The Pope met with the physicians and the sick ahead of the upcoming 31st World Day of the Sick, observed on February 11, and St. John Paul II introduced it in 1992 to pray for the sick suffering from illness.

The Church Leader noted that being an example as an initiative encourages others to join actively and unites all in a shared commitment to the common good.

Pope Francis highlighted, "the suffering of one becomes the suffering of all, and the contribution of each is welcomed by all, as a blessing."

The theme of this year's World Day of the sick is "Take care of him" from the words of the Good Samaritan from St. Luke's Gospel.

He advised the doctors to look into the eyes of the suffering brother or sister and remember the Good Samaritan's words: "Take care of him" whenever they have any obstacles or misunderstandings.

"In that face, it is Jesus himself who looks at you, He who was willing to share our weakness to the point of dying for us and who, risen, never abandons us! It is in Him that we find the strength not to give up, even in the most difficult moments," the Pope insisted.

He pointed out the work of the medical personnel "to transform the experience of suffering into closeness to the pain of others, overcoming the temptation to close oneself off, raising one's head, bending one's knees and stretching out one's hands."

The Pope underscored three necessary attitudes of their works: first, becoming close to those who suffer; second, giving voice to unheard suffering and third, becoming an engaging leaven of charity.

Concerning the first attitude, Pope Francis reminded them of the importance of closeness to the suffering, offering listening, love, and acceptance with sensitivity to allow ourselves to encounter the suffering.

"Walking together like this helps us all to grasp the truest meaning of life, which is love," he insisted.

For the second attitude, the Pope highlighted the need to "give voice to the unheard suffering," of those who are left alone in their illness, "lacking economic and moral support, easily exposed to despair and loss of faith, as can happen to those suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic pain."

"Let us take the cry of those who suffer and make it heard," he invited.

The Pope turned to the third attitude, "becoming an engaging leaven of charity," and he defined that to become a leaven of charity also means 'networking.'

Pope Francis stated that this can be achieved "simply by sharing a style of gratuitousness and reciprocity because everyone is in need and everyone can give and receive something, even just a smile."

The Pope encouraged the "sick brothers and sisters" before him that their suffering with faith brought them together for this important moment.

"In fragility, you are close to the heart of God," Pope Francis reassured.

Pope Francis specifically requested the prayers of the sick people before him for the "closeness to those who suffer, and a concrete commitment to charity, may grow among us, and that no cry of pain may go unheard." - With inputs from Vatican News.


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