The Pope said this today, a day after the Church observed World Day of the Sick, on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The principle celebrations for the event were held in Adelaide, Australia.
"Illness is a typical feature of the human condition," the Holy Father said. "As St. Augustine well expresses it in one of his prayers, 'Have mercy on me, Lord! Look, I do not hide my wounds from you. You are the doctor, I am the patient; you are merciful, I miserable.'"
Addressing the thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI said: "Christ is the true 'doctor' of humanity, whom the heavenly Father has sent to the world to cure man, marked in body and spirit by sin and its consequences."
Before reciting the midday Angelus from the window of his study, the Pope gave a meditation on the Gospel passage of today's liturgy, in which Christ cured a leper.
"In this passage," he said, "we see concentrated the whole history of salvation: This gesture of Jesus, who stretches out his hand and touches the sore-ridden body of the person who invokes him, manifests perfectly God's will to cure his fallen creature, restoring life to him 'in abundance,' full, happy, eternal life."
Hand of God
"Christ is 'the hand' of God stretched out to humanity so that it can be extricated from the shifting sands of sickness and death, to rise again by leaning on the firm rock of divine love," the Holy Father said.
The Pope entrusted to Mary, "Health of the Sick," those who, "in all parts of the world, who not only suffer from lack of health, but also from loneliness, abject poverty and marginalization."
At the same time he greeted all those who "in hospitals or other centers take care of the sick and are dedicated to their cure."
"May the Holy Virgin help each one to find consolation in body and spirit, thanks to adequate health care and fraternal charity, which becomes concrete care in solidarity," he said.
On the occasion of World Day of the Sick, the Pope had granted special indulgences.
Cardinal Javier Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, presided over the celebration of the World Day of the Sick, in the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in Adelaide, Australia.
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