Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 16 March – Thursday of the Third Week in Lent – Jeremias 7:1-7, Luke 4:38-44 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Thou opens Thy hand
and fills with blessing
every living creature.”
“And standing over her,
He commanded the fever and it left her.
And immediately rising,
she ministered to them.”
PROPER CONDUCT IN ILLNESS
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
“St Peter’s mother-in-law knew that Our Lord was in Capharnaum and that He was curing many sick people. Nevertheless, she did not anxiously send for Him to tell Him that she was suffering, nor did she beg Him to come to her house.
But what is even more amazing, is that even when they encountered one another in her house, she looked at Him and He looked at her but she did not say a word about her illness, so as to move Him to have pity on her; nor did she cry out, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me” [Matt 15:22] or “Lord, say only the word and my soul will be healed” [Matt 8:8; Lk. 7:7]—that is, I will regain life and health. …
Our fever patient did not act in this way at all. She was in her bed without making any fuss whatever. It was enough for her that others knew she was ill; she was content to take what was given her for her health, not fretting over whether it would benefit her or not. She believed firmly that God was not the first, nor the second, nor the third cause of her illness, for He is not the cause of sickness in any way whatever.
Since He is not the cause of sin, then He is not the cause of sickness either.
But just as He permits sin, He sends infirmities to correct and purify us of it.
Thus, we must be submissive to His Justice, as well as to His Mercy, keeping a humble silence. This will make us tranquilly embrace the events of His Providence, as David did, who, in his afflictions said: “I suffered and was silent because I knew that it was Thou Who sent them to correct me and purge me of my guilt.” [Ps.38: 10-12].
Our fever patient did the same. “Thou have sent me the fever and I have accepted it. I have submitted myself, both to Thy Justice and to Thy Mercy. Just as Thou sent it to me, without my asking for it, so Thou can take it away, without my asking Thee to do so. Thou knows better than I do what is best for me. I have no need to trouble myself about it. It is sufficient for me that Thou look at me and that Thou knows that I am sick in my bed!” – (Sermon for the Thursday after the Third Sunday of Lent, 3 March 1622, concerning the cure of St Peter’s mother-in-law).
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