Cure of a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath
A lay minister who has a heart ailment came to me with a question, “I do not know when my heart would turn against me. Tell me Father, what might be a good prayer when my last moments arrive?” I told him that aside from an Act of Contrition I would think of another one.
Now, what really might be the best prayer at the moment of death? Hail Mary might be another, “….Pray for us now at the hour of our death.”
The best prayer should be theologically sound and biblical, after all, biblical prayers are all Spirit-inspired. To be theological the basic realities of God, of human beings, of heaven and of death should be reflected in the prayer.
To begin with, going to heaven is God’s work. Heaven was created by God for us, because God wants us to be with him forever. God wants us to be with him, because He loves each of us. He provided us all the aids and support, so that we can be with him.
Man and woman however, are weak; tainted by original sin, they break and disregard the means that we were provided them. They sin. Again and again. But the more we sin, the greater is God’s forgiveness and mercy. Man and woman are beings towards death. But again, God went into death to pump life once more into our dying destiny and bring us with him into the resurrection.
For us sinners everything depends on God’s work and mercy. To be humble and accept this truth lies salvation. The best prayer then at the moment of death would point to the prayer of tax collector: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” (v. 13)
Pray humbly this prayer goes with text-speed to God. “The prayer of the humble person pierces the clouds,” (Sir 35:17). – Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2004)
Jesus’ explicit preference for charity over legalities is gleaned in today’s gospel. In daily human contexts, however, balancing the two is not easy thing to do. In the case of the widow who was asking a favor…..(Frt. Samuel N. Agcaracar, SVD Bible Diary 2006)
Eighteen years! If this were in our socialite world, the occasion would be called a debut: a young lady’s official introduction to society. Ah, but this was no debut. Here, the number refers to the time the woman, long past her teens, was bent in pain – physical, emotional, social, maybe also spiritual.
But then again, maybe it was – a debut. A different one, though. It was an introduction to the society of God. Jesus relieved her of her pain and deformity and restores her to the dignity and satisfaction of feeling and being recognized as the daughter of God that she always was. Except that now, the noble reality is matched by a straight and tall and happy stance.
You and I may be eight or eighty today, or eighteen or another in-between age. We may not be physically bent as the woman of the Gospel was. But who knows, maybe we do, perhaps there is always something that bends us low, keeps us from standing to our full height as children of God. It may be like the hypocrisy that the Pharisee shows, it maybe selfishness and narrow-mindedness, it maybe pride or lust, it maybe anything.. physically, we may stand tall, but emotionally and spiritually, we have been made dwarves, cripples and pygmies by our sins.
Today, by the grace of this gospel, let us ask the Lord Jesus to also heal us of our deformity and our own hypocrisy. Made whole and restored to our fullness, may we respond with a skip and a smile and a yes to our Lord’s invite: “Now that you can stand straight, shall we dance, debutante?” (Fr. Roderick Salazar, SVD Bible Diary 2008)
October 24, 2016 Monday
“Hypocrites!” A strong word uttered by Jesus to the leader of the synagogue. Similarly, Jesus is telling us who don’t practice what we preach, or who make promises but don’t fulfill them, “You hypocrites, shame on you!”
Our Gospel for today invites all of us to walk our talk. Jesus said, “Let your ‘Yes be a yes ‘ and your ‘No, a no’; anything beyond these is of evil” (Mt. 5: 37). That means we must only say it if we really mean it, and a only when we really want to do it. This is an invitation to be true to oneself. As a soft drink advertisement runs, “Magkapatotoo ka brother [sister]!” Just be honest to yourself. Honesty replaces hypocrisy. (Fr. Ferdinand Alfante, SVD | CTManila Bible Diary 2016)
Essential Care for the Sick & Dying
Combatting loneliness and despair
Volunteer visitors, relatives, and friends bring their own special abilities to the sick and dying. Above all, the sick and dying need company. You are an essential part of the healthcare team.
A natural reaction for those not accustomed to helping the dying is to withdraw and leave the dying person alone. Thus, dying people are often lonely and depressed. They feel abandoned and hopeless and may become resentful or withdrawn.
Sometimes there is nothing for you to do but hold the patient’s hand. At other times they may wish to talk or they may want you to talk to them. Talk about shared experiences, their life, your life, what’s going on in the world. Take cues from the patient. If they want to talk about dying, listen and respond appropriately and honestly. If you do not know how to respond, simply assure them that you care.
Praying with a patient often can be comfortable for both of you and “break the ice” so to speak. It can be either spontaneous prayer or formal prayer. I have found that the Lord’s Prayer is the most universally known among Christians and is very comforting. Likewise, the Twenty-Third Psalm.
A dying person who feels abandoned–now that is real suffering! And you have the ability to relieve that suffering, even if all you can do is simply sit by their bedside and comfort them with your presence.
Some nursing skills you may need to learn
- Nursing skills are best learned by practice. These include the ability to be a good observer and to follow directions carefully. If you are involved in the day to day care of an infirm or dying patient, you will need to learn certain basics. A word of caution: In a hospital or nursing home, always ask for help or for permission from medical personnel before assisting a patient for the first time. The simplest thing, like giving a patient a drink of water, may require special skills or knowledge of the patient’s condition. A word of encouragement: Do not let your natural hesitancy or discomfort deter you. Remember, if one person is to receive comfort, someone else has to give it.
Recognizing pain and assisting in relief of pain
- You can tell if a person is in pain simply by being observant. A grimace, a wrinkled brow, tense fingers, cautious breathing, moans, etc., are all telltale signs. Even in an unresponsive person, these signs tell us they are in pain.
- Report signs of pain to medical personnel. Most pain can be effectively relieved with medical intervention.
- Excitement, anxiety, and depression can contribute to pain. After all, not all pain is physical. Also, the more bright and alert a patient remains, the more enjoyable and frequent their company, and the more they are kept interested in life, the less they will suffer.
- Sometimes a gentle back rub or leg rub or a change in the person’s position can relieve restlessness, tension, and discomfort that may be perceived as pain.
- Usually there is a basin for this purpose close at hand. Turn the patient on their side so they will not choke or aspirate the vomitus into their lungs. Hold the basin against their cheek and under their chin. Call for help. Antiemetic drugs can control vomiting.
- Hiccups usually stop if carbon dioxide is inhaled, so help the patient to breathe in and out of a paper bag for a few minutes. It this fails, tell a nurse.
- Always speak to the patient in their presence, not about them. Careless conversations over an unconscious person are sometimes clearly heard by that person. Hearing is thought to be the last of the senses to fade.
Attention to the patient’s appearance
- You can help by shaving a man or by fixing a woman’s hair and makeup. These small tasks boost morale, help the patient to feel more “normal” and to be more comfortable, and improve the general atmosphere in the hospital or nursing home.
Feeding a patient
- Make certain the patient is sitting up in a comfortable position before beginning the meal. Take a real interest in helping the patient to enjoy his meal. Be patient and always be mindful of the patient’s dignity. Try to keep the food warm. If feeding takes a long time, ask for an extra plate. Put small amounts of food on it and keep the rest covered until needed. Give the patient the feeling that there is nothing you’d rather be doing at the moment. Give them your undivided attention throughout the meal.
- Know about special difficulties the patient may have. Is swallowing difficult? Give small amounts of food and frequent sips of water or other liquids. They may choke. Don’t panic. If they are unable to cough the food up, call a nurse. Is chewing difficult? Cut food into very small pieces. You may observe that dentures do not fit well or that food gets caught under dentures. If so, remove the dentures and rinse them and rinse the patient’s mouth before replacing them. This will make eating more comfortable and enjoyable.
- Does the patient drool or does food run out of one side of their mouth? These are frequent problems. Simply place a napkin on the patient’s chest, wipe their chin as necessary, and give them small amounts of food. Feed them slowly. With a stroke patient, turning their head slightly to the unaffected side may help. Always help the patient with oral hygiene after eating.
Helping care for a bedridden patient
- Patients confined to bed require extra nursing care. They must be turned frequently (approximately every two hours), washed and perhaps fed, and always treated gently. The patient, as well as busy medical personnel, will appreciate your help if you are willing and able to be taught the correct way to do these things. Lifting and turning a patient requires training and practice and two people. Never change a patient’s position without help from the medical staff unless you have been given permission to do so.
- The primary reasons for frequent changes in position are to prevent bedsores and to increase the patient’s comfort. Frequent turning from side to side is essential to avoid bedsores. You must be careful to lift the patient when turning them so that the sheet does not rub against their skin. Sometimes ripple mattresses or sheepskins are used to help spread the patient’s weight.
- All lumps and wrinkles should be smoothed out of the bedding under the patient.
- Bedsores are not necessarily a sign of bad nursing care–they are sometimes inevitable. Then one must try to heal them or render them painless. There are many forms of treatment for bedsores–too many to list here. If you are caring for a bedridden person at home, you will need special training and advice. Talk with the person’s doctor about proper care and have a nurse show you what to do.
- The places to watch for bedsores are the base of the spine (tailbone), heels, hips, and other places where bones are close to the skin. It is important to notice areas that are red. These may be the beginning of bedsores. A visitor should be observant and report any changes in skin condition to the medical staff.
Care of the incontinent patient
- Many patients have catheters to drain urine from the bladder. Infection is a constant concern for a person with a catheter. If it is necessary for you to empty the catheter bag, observe the color (yellow, white, greenish, bloody) and appearance (cloudy or clear) of the urine, any unusual odor, and the amount. Report this to the patient’s nurse.
- If the patient has a bowel movement, it is important that they be cleaned up promptly for comfort and hygiene to avoid embarrassment to the patient.
- Adequate care of the mouth is essential. Dentures should fit properly. If they do not, they will cause a sore mouth and difficulty eating. A visit from a dentist is in order if dentures bother the patient.
- When a patient is debilitated, frequent mouthwashes are important. Their mouth may drop open and become dry. Water should be given in frequent small quantities if the patient can swallow. The patient should be on their side so that fluid doesn’t trickle down their windpipe, making them cough.
- Brushing the teeth and tongue with a soft-bristled brush and a small amount of a mild toothpaste and rinsing is helpful.
Abdominal distention and constipation
- The observant visitor may notice that the patient’s abdomen is distended or the patient may complain of constipation to a friend or family member who has the time to listen to their woes. These are common problems when pain-killing drugs are used or when the patient is immobile and they are an additional cause of discomfort and distress. They can usually be relieved with medication or medical interventions. Report these problems.
- The patient who is having difficulty breathing may find relief by being turned slightly on their side with their head propped up on pillows. Sometimes opening a window may also help.
- Patients with high fevers and often patients who are close to death will perspire profusely. Give the patient frequent sponge baths and change bedding as needed.
There are many more things that you can learn to do for the severely debilitated patient if you are a frequent visitor. It is my hope that this article will help you to realize that there is much you can do to help patients to live with dignity until the moment of death.
It is essential for you to believe that whatever you do in loving service for the sick and dying you are contributing to their comfort and happiness. You are not helpless in the face of illness and death, regardless of how much or how little you are able to do. What counts is your presence, not your activity.
Touch the patient, hold their hand, reassure them. Whatever we do outwardly, it is our concern and respect for the suffering person that matters.
Reproduced by permission of author: Julie A. Grimstad, Executive Director The Center for the Rights of the Terminally Ill, Inc., 2319 18th Avenue South Fargo, North Dakota 58103
Coping & Caring for Senior Citizens
Here we provide information on subjects that are sensitive for most of us. It is these topics that loved ones, significant others, and caregivers must necessarily cope with on occasion. For those who must deal with these circumstances we hope the information is helpful. We welcome your input that might be helpful to others.
Coping with old age — taking care of yourself.
How to treat senior citizens — as you would like to be treated.
Communicating with people who are sick — suggestions that you might consider.
Essential care for the sick and dying — caring suggestions.
Dealing with people who have a handicap — how to act and how not to act.
Dealing with the Profoundly Injured — helping with a positive attitude.
Learning to cope with chronic illness — suggestions for patients and for significant others.
Dealing With The Sick
When people are healthy, happy, and doing well, it is not always easy to cope with them. But when we add bad health and illness to all the other contingencies, it is a wonder that people get along at all. I don’t suppose people who are sick or who have a handicap or who are somehow disadvantaged or damaged like to think of themselves as “difficult” to cope with. Nevertheless, bad health is not only hard on the people who have it but on the people who must deal with it. We are expected to help the sick, those with a handicap, and the disadvantaged by relating to them to the best of our ability.
Usually a disease is caused by viruses or germs. However, it is extremely difficult to separate categories of illness. They blend together even as they differentiate. Psychosomatic illness can imitate the symptoms caused by germs and viruses so accurately that the best of doctors can be fooled. I knew a man who had a tricky tropical disease. Doctors kept telling him the symptoms were all in his head, but the autopsy proved it wasn’t so. And, I have known some people who wasted their lives trying to find out what was wrong when it truly was all in their head.
Today’s society often thinks that medicine is 100% accurate and scientific–not so. A lot of medical diagnosis is still an art; and furthermore, those who have faith in the doctor are much more likely to get healed than those who believe that the practitioner is a quack.
Sick people deserve special treatment; and often, those who are taking care of the sick are not prepared to give them even normal treatment. Perhaps we can’t heal sick people like doctors do, but we are obligated to do the best we can.
Suggestion #1 — Treat people who are sick with sincere sympathy.
Just suppose a person was not really sick; he had a psychosomatic illness brought on by his own mental attitude. That person needs as much sympathy as a person who has typhoid fever or some type of trauma like a broken arm.
People who are sick need sympathy, even if they caused the illness. Why not just say, “I’m sorry you are ill,” and leave it at that. Never say, “I told you so” or “You had it coming.” If a person has a disease like AIDS and you personally think it was because of an evil life-style, do not attempt to be the judge, jury, and executioner–that person does not need our punishment. In fact, like a medical doctor, it is not our job to punish sick people, but to help them. Helping a person is not a signal of approval of life-style. If we have no sympathy for the plight of the ill, who will have sympathy for the consequence of our judgment? Be kind, gentle, and sympathetic with those who are sick.
Suggestion #2 — Conform to the limitations of the sick.
For example, do not offer candy to a diabetic; do not sit on or jostle the bed of a person who has just had surgery; do not talk too long or too loud to the ill; do not tire the sick with too much visiting; do not announce to a person recovering from surgery what a burden his sickness is causing.
A hundred specific rules could be expressed according to particular circumstances; but, being alert to special conditions and trying to help the sick recover is the general principle. Treat people who are sick in the way you like to be treated when you are sick.
Suggestion #3 — Be encouraging and optimistic.
When my sister was dying of cancer, all I could do was cry. She taught me a valuable lesson. Just before she died, she said, “I’m going to make it Bill.” I have cherished that comment, much more than if she had said the opposite. Maybe she didn’t make it in this world, but she did in the next. Discouragement and pessimism will only make the sick person sicker.
Unless one wears the mantle of a prophet it is quite dangerous and unprofitable to be the purveyor of bad news to the ill. We must remember the research done with witch doctors in Haiti. It was discovered that if a person thought a curse had been affixed, that person would often die. If we walk into a hospital room and announce to a loved one that he is going to die of his illness, there is a strong chance that it will happen. When we deal with sick people it is important to be enthusiastic about their treatment and positive about their future.
Suggestion #4 — Don’t “catch” another person’s illness.
Mother Teresa massages the sores of lepers–that seems to me a little dangerous. However, she does not massage in order to catch the disease, but to do what she can with the sick person.
Sometimes, when a loved one is very ill, those who care for him or her find themselves catching a psychological disease like depression. Remember that the greatest doctors have compassion for the sick but they do not lose their integrity by becoming mentally, psychologically, or physically ill themselves. Ask yourself, “How does my illness help my loved one recover from his?” The answer will be, it doesn’t, it won’t, it can’t. So, when treating the sick, keep yourself well.
Suggestion #5 — Pray for people who are sick.
Never fall into the trap of only emphasizing either prayer or treatment. It is not either-or, but both-and. Pray as if prayer were the only answer and give medical treatment as if it were the only answer. Those who only pray and don’t use medical treatment are as disobedient to God’s principles as those who only use medical treatment and do not pray.
There are no magical absolutes. People do get sick and people do die, and nothing that any doctor or any religious healer can do will stop the inevitable. Our best bet is to pray hard, take medical treatment, delay death as long as possible, and accept it without fear when the time comes.
Suggestion #6 — Fight sickness by working for wellness.
Sickness is an enemy.
- Don’t treat it like a friend.
- Don’t cultivate sickness; it’s like cultivating weeds.
- Don’t make yourself sick in order to manipulate anyone–it isn’t worth it.
- Don’t talk about sickness or be abnormally interested in it–sickness does not need to be encouraged.
- Don’t pretend like you are sick when you are not–it might truly happen.
It is normal to be well–be grateful for it and encourage it. It is not normal to be sick–fight it. A good person does not fight evil with evil, but rather he or she fights evil with good. Bitterness, hatred, anger, hostility, or a mean spirit will not help a person to get well. A person is more inclined to get well when he or she allows good thoughts to rule the disposition: thoughts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
A good mental attitude can be the most effective way to help the doctor with his treatment. The rule of a good mental attitude applies not only to the person who is sick, but those people who must deal with the sick.
Suggestion #7 — Pay attention to the rules of good health.
Here are the basic rules:
- proper nutrition
- adequate exercise
- fresh air
- a positive spirit
- a fulfilling occupation
- satisfying interpersonal relationships
- a good disposition
- service to others
- a friendly relationship to life
- freedom from harmful habits
The body is a temple, and it must be treated with respect. If we are abusing our body, we can’t expect it to respond without complaint. We are to keep ourselves well and help others (as much as possible) to keep themselves well also. However, when dealing with sick people do not lecture down to them the rules of good health. It never helps sick people to fight a disease if we put them down by telling them what they should have done.
Suggestion #8 — Sometimes it is necessary to tell sick people the hard truth–kindly, but firmly.
There are three occasions in which this is necessary:
- When we are dealing with a sick loved one who is making life a hell for those who care. As a child when I was recovering from surgery, I was in severe pain. I was bawling and caterwauling up a storm and making life difficult for the nurses. A nurse came up and slapped me hard and exclaimed, “Billy Diehm, you stop that screaming and take your pain like a man.” I stopped, the pain got less, and I learned a valuable lesson. I am not suggesting that we slap crying sick people, but I am suggesting that sickness is no excuse for bad manners or self-indulgent behavior. Sometimes we must at least say so.
- When dealing with a sick person whose harmful habits brought on the illness. My brother-in-law Earl was visiting his brother who was very ill from cirrhosis of the liver brought on by too much drinking. Earl said to his brother, “Bill, you’ve got to cut down on your drinking.” His brother replied, “Mind your own business; you’re not my keeper.” Earl was rebuked and ceased trying to help his brother. Two years later Bill died of acute alcoholism. Earl said, “I wish I could have helped him.” Personally, I thought my brother-in-law was discouraged too easily. I know from long years of experience that sometimes a person must get tough with a loved one who is destroying himself.
- When dealing with a sick person who is depressed to the point of suicide. Everywhere that Barry went he carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. Barry was ill with a deteriorating disease called multiple sclerosis. He was determined that he would take his life when the disease progressed to a certain state. There is no way to deal softly with such a situation.
When working with the suicide prevention clinic in Los Angeles, I saved many lives by a tough, caring, but no-nonsense approach. One day a man pointed a gun at me and said, “I’m going to kill you and then I’m going to kill myself.” I responded, “You are not going to do anything of the kind. Put that gun down. I am going to give you a bath, you stink.” I led him to the bathroom, helped him undress, gave him a bath, helped him dress, took him to our home, fed him, and kept him for three days. He got well and went back to work.
Dealing with people who are sick can be very difficult, but the rules for coping are similar to dealing with the well, except for the need for strong doses of compassion, empathy, and caring. Perhaps our efforts will not be able to heal every sick person we meet, but we can do what we can to help.
Learning to Cope with Chronic Illness
Chronic illness may involve repeated episodes of deterioration in which the patient confronts and adjusts to the losses imposed. Example of these losses can include mobility, balance, sexuality, and cognitive function. After working through the normal response to loss, many people are able to find meaning despite being in a physical condition which, prior to the onset of their illness, they would have deemed intolerable and unacceptable. Such patients handle the burden of chronic illness with amazing fortitude and are able to find meaning and value even when extremely disabled.
Individuals who are able to successfully cope with chronic illness share certain characteristics.
- They generally have good self-esteem and a realistic understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses.
- They retain an ability to define personal goals and to find gratification in their accomplishments.
- They retain some sense of control over their own destiny–a belief that they can still influence their world, including the course or symptoms of their illness.
- They are able to maintain hope.
With chronic illness, hope shifts from cure to coping. If we are chronically ill, besides a cure, we can hope for:
- a reasonable quality of life,
- diminished discomfort,
- maintenance of dignity and a sense of self-worth, and
- retention and enrichment of our loving relationships.
Those who cope successfully typically have strong support from family or “significant others;” they have open communication with those who care and confidence in their healthcare personnel.
SUGGESTIONS FOR PATIENTS
- Assume responsibility for your own healthcare. Get as much information from as many sources as you can. Learn enough about your condition so that you know something about its treatment, and what you can and can’t do to help yourself. Learn about your medications and recognize the side effects you experience. Try to be as compliant as possible but accept that despite the best of intentions some minor deviations can occur.
- Try to define what you have lost. As you do this, you may be able to develop alternate ways to regain, or achieve, at least some of what you have lost. For example, if you have difficulty with balance, work with your physiotherapist to find a walking aid to help you compensate for the loss of balance.
- Recognize that behavior that is appropriate for acute illness may not be adaptive when one is chronically ill. Avoid being overly passive or dependent on others as you might be with an acute illness.
- Deal with the emotional realities. Chronic illness is unfair. It is sad to lose any amount of freedom, our confidence in our health and future, or our physical abilities. It is natural to weep, feel angry, wonder “why me?” and feel anxiety about an uncertain future. These are painful but normal emotions that generally will fade over time. They may be experienced a number of times, as new symptoms develop, or as the illness deprives us of some valued ability. Most people will, after a period of time, come to terms with their new reality and will not become depressed. If necessary, however, seek help in dealing with these emotions and go forward with your life.
- If chronically ill, monitor your thinking. Try to minimize negative or anxiety-producing thinking. Some chronically ill individuals can develop interpretations of events that are unduly negative or anxiety provoking, such as “I can’t do it… It’s hopeless… I’m defeated” (depressive thoughts), or “I can’t stand it… I never know what’s happening… I’m hopeless” (anxiety-producing thoughts). Such automatic thoughts only increase the burden under which we function. Find a balance of coping styles.
- Identify and avoid vicious cycles. For example, chronic fatigue may make a person feel discouraged and being discouraged may contribute to feelings of uselessness. These, in turn, can contribute to a sense of fatigue, which then increases the feelings of being useless and unhappy. This is a classic vicious cycle.
- Try to accept the way things are with you at this moment in time. This does not require an admission that you prefer to be ill, but is simply an acknowledgment of your current situation. With such acceptance comes an ability to plan realistically. Do not electively take on additional burdens or responsibilities without carefully considering the options.
- Be positive. Focus on what you can do rather than on what you can’t do. Remember that you are a competent individual with many talents and attributes that are inherently yours and will be yours forever. Allow them to flourish.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS
- Recognize that you cannot control or be responsible for the behavior of anyone but yourself. Your task is to try to maximize the likelihood that the patient will behave in an adaptive, realistic manner.
- Remember that we don’t know anyone else’s internal reality. We only know their verbal and nonverbal behaviors. We need to avoid negative self-fulfilling prophesies about the patient. Check your assumptions. Are you sure they can’t bathe themselves, do simple housework, go outside for a walk, take a vacation, or hold you close?
- As with the patient, it is important to become an expert on the disease and its treatment. The more you know, the more you can help the patient make the right decisions about his/her care, and the more you can monitor your own expectations.
- An important aspect of living with someone with a chronic illness is understanding and accepting your own limitations. Even the most loving and attentive people need time for themselves, whether it’s to rest, to take care of personal needs, or to be pampered. Give yourself permission to continue to live your life.
- Support realistic efforts by the patient to be more independent. Give the person permission to try, even if they fail. Active coping inevitably involves some attempts that don’t succeed. However, “errors of commission,” which is to say, trying and failing, are much healthier for the chronically ill than “errors of omission,” or making no effort at all.
- Try not to inflict guilt, rejection, or frustration onto the patient. The illness imposes considerable frustration on both the patient and their loved ones. Recognize this, and try to deal with it in ways that do not increase it.
- Monitor your own grief. As your loved one experiences losses (of independence, health, future) you will experience some normal bereavement. You, too, are losing something of value and will grieve. Recognize that this is normal and try not to let it unduly influence your relationship with your loved one.
We hope that these pointers are helpful with the enormous challenge that you and your loved one face. We do want to emphasize that it is important to view chronic illness holistically with the understanding that emotional and psychological support can be just as important as medical treatment.
Material for this article was obtained with permission from the authors of an article entitled Coping with Parkinson’s Disease: Cheryl H. Waters, M.D., and William G. Crary, Ph.D., University of Southern California, National Parkinson Foundation Clinic, 1510 San Pablo, Suite 615, Los Angeles, CA 90004.
Care for the sick
In The Gospel According to Matthew, Jesus says to his Apostles, when the Son of Man comes in majesty to render final judgment on all of humankind, he will say to the chosen ones on his right hand: “I was sick and you visited me,” and to the condemned on his left hand: “I was sick and you did not visit me.” When the condemned ask the Lord when they saw him sick and did not visit him, they…
BE HEALED: Many people suffered from heart attacks, not because they eat the wrong food but because they have so many worries. Some people get skin diseases such as eczema, because their worries eventually find release in eruptions on their skin.
St. Luke was a doctor and he also knew that when you worry much, these worries can find expression through bodily illnesses. That is why in the gospel, in order to explain the sickness of the woman, Peter says that this woman is bent in mind and body. The woman was sick in mind and it was expressed in her stooped position. Her worries of 18 years bore down on her shoulders.
Today, the Lord breaks the news that He cannot tolerate suffering another day. My dear brothers and sisters who among us does not have a secret worry or a secret sickness? We reveal some of our sicknesses to our doctors. But many of our spiritual ailments, many of the worries we are afraid to share even with our confessors and spiritual directors, God knows. God knows how deformed our souls have become. God knows how stooped our hearts have become because we have been suffering all these years.
Today at Mass, let us close our eyes and in the silence of our hearts, let us listen to the soothing and gentle words: “You are free from infirmity.” Believe that it will happen, not tomorrow, but right now. Believe that when you receive the Eucharist, the Lord will also whisper in your ears, “You are free from everything that bends you, weighs you down. You are free from everything that causes you sleepless nights. You are free from all these. You are free because you are a child of God. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, p. 76)
Sunday, October 25, 2015
MONDAY OF THE 30TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 13:10-17. UNSA MAY MAHITABO KON KITA MAMAKALINGKAWAS SA DAOTANG ESPIRITU? Usa ka babaye nga nagtikubo sulod sa 18 ka tuig ang gi-ayo ni Hesus. Ang “pagtikubo” naghulagway sa makasasalang kahimtang sa maong babaye. Tungod sa sala, wala siyay nawong nga ikapakita sa mga tawo. Human gitapi-on ni Hesus ang iyang kamot sa babaye, naayo kini ug nakatuyhad na. Ang “pagtuyhad” naghulagway sa bag-ong kinabuhi nga naangkon sa babaye tungod sa panabang ni Hesus. Kining ebanghelyo maghagit kanato sa pagbiya sa sala nga maoy maghatag og kabug-at sa atong kinabuhi, ug sa pagduol kang Kristo nga maoy magluwas kanato gikan sa daotang espiritu. Sakto ang giingon: “A true Christian desires to be free from sin, not to sin freely.” Kon malikayan nato ang pagpakasala, makaatubang kita sa katilingban nga walay kaulawan. Posted by Abet Uy
CALL TO SERVE – “Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.” – Luke 13:14
I remember back when we had our post-graduate internship (PGI) in a government hospital, a fellow intern was always misunderstood for being a show-off at being a hands-on and helpful medical man. Several times, we would see patients coming down from a taxi walking lamely towards the entrance of the E.R. When aides-on-duty would be busy transporting patients and attending to other tasks and there was nobody to pull a wheelchair for the patient, this co-intern would voluntarily do the job.
Some people in some quarters interpreted this as an act of heroism, but some saw it as pretentious. They would comment that it’s not part of a doctor’s job.
Each of us has a mission in life. We are assigned a task. But we can always extend that assignment and do more if the situation calls for it. Nothing should hinder us from serving people. Just as it is better to give than to receive, it’s better to serve than to be served. Dr. Henry L. Yu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reflection: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” (Steve Jobs)
Lord, help us not to mind doing things beyond our job description. Help us to stay grounded always and be humble to do things for our fellowmen in need.
October 26, 2015
Monday of the 30th Week in the Ordinary Time
Rom 8: 12-17, Lk 13: 10-17
Compassion of Jesus
In today’s Gospel passage, we listen to the miracle of healing the hunchbacked woman. Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. Synagogue has been the place of preaching and teaching in the early ministry of Jesus. And synagogues were plenty. One estimate shows that there were more than four hundred synagogues in Jerusalem itself. Slowly in the ministry of Jesus, Synagogues lost the place of teaching. It may be because of the increased enmity between the Pharisees and Jesus or he might have been facing a partial excommunication from the Jewish religion due to his harsh criticism of its leadership.
In yesterday’s Gospel we saw Jesus curing the blind Bartimaeus. While curing him Jesus demanded a request and appeal from him. He asked him the question: What do you want me to do for you? But in today’s passage we see a marked difference in the attitude of Jesus. There is no formal or informal request from the woman. Verse 12 says: “And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her.” All the actions are of Jesus. He saw her, called her, and said to her. When he saw a woman who was suffering from an infirmity for eighteen years he felt compassion for her. His heart extended itself to her without waiting for a formal request of help from her. Given that she was a woman, Jesus understood the added suffering of her. Women were the natural downtrodden of any society and especially of Jewish community of Jesus time. Being a hunchbacked added to her woes. Still she did not desist from attending the synagogue services. Jesus reached out to her and told her that she was healed of her infirmity. That is Jesus. He understands the unspoken woes and sufferings of people. That is the mission we are also asked to continue. We need not wait for people to come to us with formal requests of help. Are our eyes open to the sufferings of people? Are we ready to touch them with a compassionate heart?
Sometimes we may be in the position of that woman. She was bent over and unable to stand straight up. Her hunchback prevented her from looking straight up at anybody. How difficult it would have been for that woman to look at Jesus. Many a time spiritually our condition is also the same. We are depressed and spiritually hunchback. We are unable to stand straight up. The force and strength our sins are so great that we feel ashamed to look at Jesus. But Jesus is compassion incarnated. He understands our sinful pathetic conditions and is ready to extend his hands to us to help us stand up in life. Let us place our trust in him.
For the synagogue officer Jesus was just a miracle worker, a professional healer, a doctor. He failed to understand the Divine in Jesus. But the woman and the people realized who Jesus was. So “she praised God” and “all the people rejoiced” while the ruler of the synagogue became indignant. His problem was that Jesus did not respect the law of Sabbath. So Jesus pointed out the real meaning of the observance of Sabbath. God does not rest from showing His mercy and love. If He ever stopped showing His compassion what would be our condition. Sabbath or No Sabbath, continue doing good and continue showing compassion. That is the way of Jesus. That is what he demands of us. Dr. Martin Mallathu CMI
October 24, 2016
The saint we remember today was a truly remarkable man. Born a weaver’s son in Spain in 1807, he never forgot his humble origins. He himself eventually became a weaver and a designer in the textile mills of Barcelona. But he was ordained a priest in 1835 and was soon one of Spain’s most popular preachers. He then founded a congregation of preachers called the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (known today as Claretians).
In 1850 he was appointed archbishop of Santiago in Cuba, and there worked tirelessly to reform a much-neglected archdiocese. He also encouraged sound farming methods and credit unions. In 1857 he was recalled to Spain and appointed confessor to Queen Isabella II. During that period of his life, Claret discovered the power of popular press and soon founded societies to publish and distribute free Catholic literature, much of which he himself wrote. This interest of his would wield a strong influence on the future apostolate of his Claretians.
During the revolution of 1868, Claret was forced to leave Spain and he ended up in Rome, where he participated in Vatican Council I. Then, driven into exile in France, he died there peacefully in 1870.
Here was a marvelously modern saint.
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