St. John Paul II urged those suffering to ask the hardest questions in life and not neglect their spiritual health.
Often when we get sick, the only thing we think about is our physical health. We want to get better and tend to block out all other areas of life.
However, St. John Paul II believed sickness was precisely the time to ask some of the hardest questions in life, diving deeper into your own spiritual life.
He explains this in his letter on the World Day of the Sick in 2005.
The annual celebration of the World Day of the Sick offers everyone a possibility of understanding better the importance of pastoral health care. In our time, marked by a culture imbued with secularism, some have at times been tempted not to recognize the full value of this pastoral context.
They think that human destiny is played out in other fields. Instead, it is precisely in times of sickness that the need to find adequate responses to the ultimate questions about human life is the most pressing: questions on the meaning of pain, suffering and death itself, considered not only as an enigma that is hard to face, but a mystery in which Christ incorporates our lives in himself, opening them to a new and definitive birth for the life that will never end.
When we are sick, we are always faced with the possibility of death. This can be a scary thought, but for the Christian, it should also include thoughts of hope.
In Christ lies the hope of true, full health; the salvation that he brings is the true response to the ultimate questions about man. There is no contradiction between earthly health and eternal salvation, since the Lord died for the integral salvation of the human person and of all humanity.
Jesus is the answer to sickness, suffering and death. He alone can offer us peace during times of uncertainty and grant us a glimpse of the glory that is to come.
In conforming us to the mystery of the crucified and Risen Christ, the Holy Spirit opens us from this moment to the joy that will culminate in our beatific encounter with the Redeemer. In fact, the human being does not only aspire to physical or spiritual well-being, but to a “health” that is expressed in total harmony with God, with self and with humanity. This goal can only be reached through the mystery of the passion, death and Resurrection of Christ.
If we find ourselves sick or in great pain, let us not forget our spiritual health and unite ourselves to Jesus on the cross, who provides for us all the answers we could ever need.