Visit The Sick
Week 4 | Corporal Work of Mercy
“I was sick, and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:36)
By Father Donald Calloway, MIC
Another translation of this work of mercy is to “comfort” the sick. In all cases, the first step is reaching out to those in need. Whether they are physically ailing or “sick at heart” from social isolation, being forgotten, or missing the basic human need of friendship, just a visit can be healing. One beautiful aspect of this corporal act of mercy is that it does not require wealth, research, skills, experience, or even travel: There are lonely people near most of us in nursing homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
You might still be wondering what you should do when you visit the sick. I know I did. I remember during my first year of seminary, I was on vacation and a neighbor came over and said that his elderly mother was on her deathbed. My neighbor asked me if I could “do something.” I told him I wasn’t a priest yet, but that I would be more than willing to visit with his mother. I really didn’t know what to do other than spend time visiting and praying with the family. What I discovered when I got there was that she was not at peace because she had not lived a holy life. My response was to turn to the Divine Mercy Chaplet and pray it by her bedside. Since the family did not know how to pray it, I prayed it out loud. What happened next was amazing. Right in front of all of us in the room, the dying woman went from torturous agony and fear of death to a peaceful and happy countenance. Immediately after the Divine Mercy Chaplet was finished, she passed away. I can’t help but think that the Lord took her soul to himself with a loving embrace at that very moment. To this day, the encounter remains one of the most powerful events I have ever experienced. It proved to me that visiting the sick and praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for them is extremely powerful.
Just being present and praying is all that is needed. Visit, sit with the person, and pray. That’s all there is to it!
Excerpt taken from Chapter 5 of Beautiful Mercy. Get your free copy of the book (just pay shipping).
There is no substitute for human interaction. You can send a gift, make a phone call, write a letter, or even say a prayer, but nothing compares to a smile and a hug. Nothing says “you matter,” “you have dignity,” “you are loved” quite like a personal encounter.
Visit the sick this week, whether it’s a loved one or it’s strangers at a hospital or nursing home.
Lord, help me to go outside of my comfort zone this week to bring your love to those in need.