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To Your Health

From the Director

By Fr. John Burger

Every year in the Catholic Church we have a “World Day of Prayer for the sick” on February 11, which is also the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. All the experts on the life of Jesus agree that He was indeed a healer. Despite, or maybe because of, modern medicine, many of our friends who write to us asking for prayers are seeking relief from sickness and pain.

Pope Francis recently was speaking of health care professionals who run the risk of “burning out” as a result of long shifts, high stress, emergencies “or the emotional impact of their work.” Healing, he said, “among other things passes not only through the body but also through the spirit.” Those who are in the midst of a battle for health — and those who are helping them — must remember that they are not alone, said Francis. “The Lord, who endured the difficult experience and pain of the cross, is there beside them.” Knowing that we’ve offered prayers, help and companionship to those who are fighting to heal their bodies and minds makes our own life pilgrimage trip a little more humane. It’s always comforting to know you’ve done the right thing, been a helpful presence.

Health’s importance, indeed its preciousness, is something we all realize atone point or another during our stay on the planet, all too often after we are deprived of that great blessing.

Do any of us remember enough of our high school Latin to decode: Mens sana in corpore sano. My old Latin teacher would be so proud that I remember, “A healthy mind in a healthy body.” Health’s importance, indeed its preciousness, is something we all realize at one point or another during our stay on the planet, all too often after we are deprived of that great blessing. 

Sometimes even those whose lives are marked by healthful habits fall victim to the capricious nature of disease or misfortune. We all know stories of those who jog, who park in the farthest space on the lot, and who avoid smoke, sugar and second cocktails, and yet are let down by their bodies. They too may awake one morning on a gurney in the emergency room.

The warfare between our immune system and the germs that would invade our bodies seems to be never ending. Isaac Walton once wrote: “Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God and value it next to a good conscience.” Good health, he noted, is “a blessing that money cannot buy.” Even those reading this who’ve never been admitted to a hospital for anything more than a check-up, must do our best to take care not only of our body but also our spirit, and we should trust God to help us in the effort to preserve our spiritual and physical strength so we can serve others.

So, here’s to your good health. I say “take care of yourself,” and I really mean it. 

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Columban logoThe Columbans are a society of missionaries, including priests and lay people, who minister to people of various cultures as a way of witnessing to the universal love of God.

We go in the name of the Church to announce, by deed and word, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

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