Although Our Lord opened up the gates of Heaven for us by his death on the cross, this fallen world is a valley of tears. To some degree, we all experience pain and suffering. There is no easy answer to pain and suffering in the world, but “[w]e know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). In his encyclical letter Salvifici Doloris, the beloved St. John Paul II explores the “Christian meaning of human suffering” (the first words of this encyclical).
“In a word, we must understand clearly that if we remain calm, serene and patient, suffering loses all its sting, but the moment we get excited, the smallest suffering increases a hundredfold. It is just as if we had a sore arm or leg and rubbed it violently; it would become irritated and painful, whereas, if we touch it gently, we soothe the irritation. We suffer from ill health, from pains, headaches, rheumatism, arthritis, from accidents, from enemies. We may have financial difficulties. Some suffer for weeks in their homes, some in hospitals or nursing homes. In a word, we are in a vale of tears. Almighty God could have saved us from all suffering, but He did not do so because He knows in His infinite goodness that suffering is good for us” (Fr. Paul O’Sullivan).
“Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that ‘God has visited his people’ and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: ‘I was sick and you visited me.’ His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1503).
“Moved by so much suffering, Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.’ But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the ‘sin of the world,’ of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross, Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion” (paragraph 1505).
If you or a loved one is battling an illness of any kind, prayers for healing and strength are a wonderful way to ask God for His healing, for comfort and the strength to deal with this hardship.
Below we offer a prayer for the sick and a prayer for healing for you and your loved ones.
Prayer for the Sick
God our Father, your Son accepted our sufferings to teach us the virtue of patience in human illness. Hear the prayers we offer for our sick brother/sister. May all who suffer pain, illness, or disease realize that they have been chosen to be saints and know that they are joined to Christ in His suffering for the salvation of the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Father in heaven, grant N. comfort in his/her suffering. Give him/her courage when afraid, patience when afflicted, hope when dejected, and when alone assure him/her of the prayerful support of Your holy people. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayer for Healing
Our Lady appeared in Lourdes, France, in 1858 to a humble peasant girl, St. Bernadette. Mary asked for prayer and sacrifice for the conversion of sinners. To this day the Lord works many miracles through the water of a spring at the site of the apparitions. By means of this prayer, ask Our Lady for her prayers for healing and/or other blessings you desire!
O ever-Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy,
health of the sick, refuge of sinners,
comforter of the afflicted,
you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings.
Look with mercy on me.
By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes,
you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary,
whence you dispense your favors;
and already many sufferers have obtained
the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.
I come, therefore, with complete confidence
to implore your maternal intercession.
Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests
(mention your intentions).
Through gratitude for your favors,
I will endeavor to imitate your virtues,
that I may one day share your glory.