VATICAN CITY, FEB. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Eucharist is the only true remedy against pain, since in it we make our suffering part of Christ's passion, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry.
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán affirmed this Monday, feast of Out Lady of Lourdes and the 16th World Day of the Sick.
The cardinal celebrated Mass for the sick and for pilgrims of the Italian National Union for Transport of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines, and of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi.
At the beginning of his homily, the cardinal recalled that the day marked the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous in the grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes.
Commenting on certain aspects of Benedict XVI's message for the World Day of the Sick -- in which the Pope highlights the intimate bond between the Eucharistic mystery, Mary's role in the project of salvation and the reality of human suffering -- Cardinal Lozano Barragán asked: "Is it possible to experience the suffering of Christ in our own suffering, to find therein happiness and joy?"
The answer," he said, "can only come from the Holy Spirit, fusing our suffering with that of Christ through his infinite love."
The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's suffering, said the president of the Vatican dicastery, going on to explain that "the reality of the mystery of suffering -- which in Christ becomes positive, creative, redeeming, happiness and joy, while not ceasing to be extremely painful -- is the Eucharist. Participation in the Eucharist is the authentic way to make our own suffering part of Christ's suffering. This is Eucharistic communion. The Eucharist is thus our cross and our resurrection. It is the only true remedy to pain. It is the medicine of immortality."
Cardinal Lozano Barragán said that responding to the love of the cross implies pronouncing an unreserved "yes" to the mysterious plan of the Redeemer.
He added, "This complete 'yes' of love is the Immaculate Conception of our dear Mother, Mary," who participated "on Calvary as the co-redeemer of the Savior. [...] Christ on the cross suffered all the pains that his most holy mother suffered. And she in Christ suffers all our pains, she assumes them and knows how to commiserate with us. Out suffering is also her suffering.
"Suffering has value inasmuch as the death of Christ inherently comprehends his resurrection. In other words, suffering has value inasmuch as it leads toward the destruction of suffering. Thus suffering itself, understood in a Christian sense, encourages us to struggle against suffering in this life, as an anticipation of the resurrection."
"Hence the Eucharist, as participation in Christ's suffering, encourages us to care for our sick brothers and sisters," the cardinal affirmed. "We must share the joy of the resurrection, overcoming the daily manifestation of death in sickness.
"Here is the engine that drives us forward to combat all infirmities and bring health to everyone. From here arises the obligation to progress constantly in the art and science of medicine and to continue its extraordinary modern developments."