When we get sick, typically our natural reaction is to complain. We don’t like getting sick and will do anything in our power to avoid it.
While treating an illness is certainly a good thing, we also need to accept any pain we endure and unite it to the suffering of Jesus on the cross. One of the reasons why this is important is because it helps put our sickness into perspective, realizing the excruciating pain Jesus endured for our sake.
St. Francis Borgia wrote about this in his writings, encouraging us to picture in our mind the severe pain Jesus experienced.
When you are ill and endure great pain — [Imagine] to yourself the scourging, the crowning with thorns, and the crucifixion. Jesus was covered with wounds from the top of His head to the sole of His foot; He wished that no part of His body should be exempt from pain, in order that we might suffer nothing which He had not endured before us, and that we might be obliged to offer all our sufferings to Him.
Meditate on that stark reality for a few minutes. Jesus endured such great pain from the top of his head to the bottom of this feet. No part of his body was left untouched by pain.
Sometimes when we get sick or are suffering from any pain, we think that nobody can relate to it. Yet, Jesus endured even greater pain and he did so freely, out of an immense love for us.
This is why holding a crucifix or putting one on the wall of a sick person can be a source of great consolation. It reminds us of the pain Jesus experienced and how you are not alone in that pain.
The next time you are in great pain, think about Jesus and unite that pain to his suffering, giving thanks to him for his boundless love.
How the promise of Heaven can give us hope in times of trial
John Paul II’s prayer to St. Padre Pio for strength during suffering