One of the most corporal works of mercy we can do is to visit the sick. As we live in a time where there is a movement to euthanize people with chronic illnesses and to encourage them to seek death through physician assisted suicide, they need to know that their lives have value because they are loved by God. As Catholics, we can witness to God’s love and show people who are sick that we love them too.
The sick need to know people care about them. It is our role as Catholics to encourage people who are sick or who are dying and give them hope.
Unfortunately, some people are not comfortable when it comes to visiting the sick and may even avoid visiting their relatives who are sick. Probably they are afraid of contracting an illness in a hospital or nursing home, or are upset by seeing someone who is suffering, or don’t want to be reminded of their own mortality.
In other hand, people may get busy with work or taking care of their family, and think they have no time. As a result of that, many sick people are left lonely.
It’s good if you learn how to listen to, talk to, and pray with people suffering from illness and loneliness. Pray for the sick in your private prayers, if possible pray the Rosary with them.
Because it’s deemed fit that before going on a visit, you should pray for the person you will see and ask Mary, who is the Mother of Mercy, to help you during your visit.
However, you can ask the people you visit if they would like to pray with you, and let them know you are praying for them. When visiting someone who is in the hospital, your visits should be short, as they will be resting much of the time. In a nursing home, you may help the person you visit with non-medical needs such as bringing him to the chapel or outside (if that is allowed by the nurses), or if the person doesn’t see well, you may help in reading a book aloud.
Catholic brethren with dementia may remember traditional prayers and enjoy praying the Rosary with you.
When visiting someone who is dying, I think it is important to tell the person you are praying for him and remind him of God’s love and mercy. Because, it can be comforting to the dying person to have someone stay quietly in his room, praying.
Jesus revealed to St. Faustina, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as a prayer that can bring special graces for people who are dying. With Catholic relatives and friends, we should also ask if they have received anointing of the sick, and if not, help make arrangements for it. Visiting the sick and praying for them brings this essential Joy within That you don’t need to miss. Try visiting a sick person today and give the testimony tomorrow.