Serving One Another in Times of Need
Helping others is intrinsically connected to our faith. We are to act with love, mercy, kindness, and justice towards one another. (Matthew 23); if anyone does not provide for his relatives and household, he has denied his faith (1 Timothy 5:8).
The majority of us have experienced some form of illness and needed some help from others. This could be from a cold, the flu, pneumonia, or other acute illness; and many people live with chronic disease (defined as lasting 3 months of longer).
Now, what was it that may have made you feel better, really better inside? Something that made a smile emerge from your inner-most being.
For many of us, it would simply be through the act of receiving special care from someone that cared about our well-being or showed us kindness, mercy, love, and let us know that we are valued. This is the act of human compassion and the presence of God.
As the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi so aptly reveals, we can pray to God to be used as an instrument of spiritual healing by providing faith, hope, light and joy.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
What can we gain from this prayer to serve one another in illness?
- We can bring God’s peace to those who are ill by being present in care.
- We can open ourselves to listen and provide empathy and support.
- It is a time that we can allow those in need to know God’s presence through us.
- It is a time where we can confirm that amidst physical suffering and sorrow, there are joyous moments in the offering of one’s spirit to another.
We can do some practical things to show our kindness.
- We can send a card, write notes, make a phone call, or visit
- Read to them, bring pictures, share memories
- Bring food, run errands, drive to appointments, mow the lawn
God calls us to serve one another, and to be with others in times of great joy as well as in times of great need.