CHRIST COMES TO THEM THROUGH THE CHURCH
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚFR. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
We do not often realize the fact how many people are afflicted by diseases. And everyone wants to be healthy – both in body and soul. Even the wishes we say to one another on various occasions, mostly concern health. Because if we are healthy, we are not suffering from anything, it means that we are in good condition, that we can fulfill our plans and achieve a lot. We are glad when we say: I feel good, I am healthy, I am not suffering from anything, I have a lot of work, I can do it. Then everything is favourable to me. I am glad, I feel well, I am in a good mood, I am happy, I have many friends. But when we go to a medical centre, hospital, where we have to stand in long queues, waiting for our medical examinations, when we pass by hospital wards and corridors, we notice many young people, about whom nobody would say they need a doctor. These are not thousands but millions of them who need a doctor who would examine them, given them a good diagnosis about their diseases and save their health.
We are getting more aware of how many people are looking for help, how many of them are ill. They come and present their problems, are tensed, their look often expresses their cry for help. New awareness – of an ill man, and, in fact a crowd of people – causes the lack of self-confidence, if a horrendous queue to a doctor’s surgery happened in our life, later we mention an important operation – in our eyes there appears fear about life and a way which may finish with a very serious danger.
We can classify ill people in a few categories. Ill people at home – there are probably most of them – have been suffering for years and although their illnesses are not always severe, care about them is connected with administering them medications, care about keeping their health, controlling their medical examinations. A man standing in a queue to a doctor in a medical centre, to laboratory examinations, waiting for receiving a diagnosis and a way of treatment, standing in a queue in a chemist’s, is also an ill man who needs help. Another group are people in hospitals and clinics, waiting for surgeries and operations, who are suffering and need everyday nursing and medical care – there are also millions of them. They need a doctor a nurse, their look cries: come to us with help, help me, you are a doctor, you are nearly a master, be my help, tell me what is wrong with me, what I can expect, define my illness and condition and tell me if I will live and how long I will live, when I will die, what sufferings I am going to have, what treatments I am going to take…
What will there be with me at all? And there is another group of people – the ill doomed to being in a caring facility, a palliative facility, hospice, who have a direct contact with a nurse. It is either a secular person or a nun, or a volunteer. They are to help, come to the ill who are suffering…..
An illness is connected with buying medicaments and taking them in proper doses – these are responsible and important actions. People engaged in treating the ill are also pharmacists in chemist’s, people working on production of medicaments in pharmaceutical plants, responsible for everything what is happening, before medicaments get to the ill. It is not an easy vocation; it demands intellect, mental ability and a need of helping others. Among people related to the ill are also: a male nurse, a midwife, a ward nurse, a man who is on the guard and takes care of safety of a workplace; this is the ambulance team – people who serve others. They do not distinguish outside, they are not visible but their work is valuable. These people are – generally speaking – the health service. All those who constitute it, are directly filled with the human hope.
This all is to serve the ill who draw out their hands to ask for help. Next, there is a great deed of heart, because a state of an illness is a great unknown.
We buy medicaments, take them, use medical care but we are not sure yet if there will not be a worse time when our health may be endangered, and this may entail a danger for our life.
In this all we must see our faith. Christ who came to people, revealed his power of Saint Doctor, he bent over the human poverty, tragedy, problems with which people live, who were confined to bed by their illnesses and are waiting for help. Therefore today we must see Christ who helps the ill. His whole life was the help to others. He used to say, defining the Messiah’s time, that the blind see, the deaf hear, the crippled walk, and the Gospel is preached to everybody. This Gospel which is to give people hope, joy of life and show where a man can receive help.
From its very beginnings of existence, the Church helps the man, comes to ill, poor, needing people with help. Christ comes to them through the Church and brings them salvation, inner joy, awareness that God wants to help the man; he comes with his grace. It is revealed to an ill person and nobody but this person deserves the grace planned by God. Therefore, the Apostles found out quickly how meaningful the world of ill and suffering people is, who need to be helped. Being aware that strictly religious, evangelic prediction has the supreme value, we should also touch on the issue of helping ill and needing people. We must not leave an ill man on his own, as an ill man is Christ who gives a testimony at every moment to every ill man and at every time.
Everybody who serves the Church is an apostle who is also engaged directly in the activity of Jesus Christ. There is still the world of ill people, their open accepting help and their desire to be treated and to meet good people. It is extremely important that people of health service would be responsible for their brothers and sisters.
We should also see the world of doctors, which belongs to very important issues of the world, serving to the social order in the supreme rank. Because a doctor is somebody who has vocation. He is not an ordinary laborer or a social activist but he has a perennial task which is what Christ defined – vocation, and people serving others – priests of love. Only the man who gave his life to the eternal Priest gets the will strength to serve others. Those priests should see medical centres and hospitals and know that, on the one hand, they are building the world of ill people, but, on the other hand, - the world of people who trustfully come to doctors and follow their recommendations – they are to serve. A doctor is to serve and the man is to serve because he has trusted a doctor, entrusted himself to him and knows that he can be certain that he will examined, and a doctor will devote his time for an ill person, will serve to him and will be Christ coming to him.