By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Saturday received in audience members of the Italian Union for the Fight against Muscular Dystrophy and encouraged them to “become more and more witnesses of solidarity and evangelical charity” to those suffering from neuromuscular diseases.
Hope for the sick
“For them you are like rays of hope, which relieve moments of loneliness and discouragement and encourage us to face the disease with confidence and serenity,” the Pope told the group of some 1.500.
“Physical rehabilitation,” the Pope pointed out, “can and must be accompanied by spiritual rehabilitation, made primarily of gestures of proximity, in order to fight not only against physical pain, but also against the moral suffering of abandonment or isolation.”
The Holy Father particularly commended the union’s free and professional medical and social services independent of any party’s interests or ideologies.
This free service, he said is well demanded of the union members along with other virtues such as discretion, fidelity, attention, readiness and effectiveness in intervention, ability to sense even the unspoken problems of the sick person, humility, seriousness, determination, punctuality, perseverance and respect for the sick person in all his needs.
The Pope encouraged them along this this path, saying their precious work contributes to humanization that makes society more attentive to the dignity of man and to his multiple expectations. Through the activity of the union, he said, they can experience that only when one loves and gives to others, he or she realizes himself or herself fully.
Jesus asks to be served
Saying that Jesus lived and taught us how to walk in charity, the Pope said that that even today, the Lord asks to be served in the weakest brothers. He speaks to the hearts of those who place themselves at their service and he makes them experience the joy of selfless love, love that is the source of true happiness.
The Pope said that members of the Italian Union for the Fight against Muscular Dystrophy are called to be a "gym" of life, especially for young people, contributing to educating them in a culture of solidarity and hospitality, open to the needs of the most vulnerable people.
"One who suffers, understands better the value of the divine gift of life which is to be promoted, guarded and protected from conception to natural sunset," the Pope added.