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Illness brings with it questions that dig deep, says pope in Thai hospital

St. Louis Hospital
Handout | VATICAN MEDIA | AFP
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Francis considers how often we rebel from sickness, but assures that Jesus himself made that suffering his own

Pope Francis on Thursday spoke with patients and staff of the St. Louis Hospital in Bangkok, founded in 1898 by the Apostolic Victor of Siam, Archbishop Louis Vey.

The Holy Father thanked the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres and all the other women religious present.

I thank them for their quiet and joyful dedication to this apostolate over these many years. You enable us to contemplate the maternal face of God who bends down to anoint and raise up his children: thank you.

Addressing around 700 staff in the hospital’s auditorium on Thursday, Pope Francis said it was a blessing for him “to witness first hand this valuable service that the Church offers to the Thai people, especially to those most in need.”

Then Francis went on to reflect on the challenge of illness, and the grace of finding God within it:

Each of us knows how illness brings with it questions that dig deep. Our first reaction may be to rebel and even experience moments of bewilderment and desolation. We cry out in pain, and rightly so: Jesus himself shared in that suffering and made it his own. With prayer, we too want to join in his own cry of pain.

By uniting ourselves to Jesus in his passion, we discover the power of his closeness to our frailty and our wounds. We are invited to cling to him and to his sacrifice. If at times we feel deeply “the bread of adversity and the water of affliction,” let us also pray that we can find, in an outstretched hand, the help needed to discover the comfort that comes from “the Lord who does not hide himself” (cf. Is 30:20), but remains ever close to us and accompanies us at every moment.

Let us place this meeting and our lives under the protective mantle of Mary. May she turn her eyes of mercy toward you, especially at times of pain, illness and vulnerability. May she obtain for you the grace of encountering her Son in the wounded flesh of all those whom you serve.

Speaking to Marie Duhamel of Vatican News, hospital director, Father Surachai Chumsriphran said that the pope’s visit will remain not only in their memory for years but also will be something special in the heart of the next generation.