Collection: Mary, Health of the Sick
ARTIST: Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS
A quote from Pope Francis inspired this image, Health of the Sick, an ancient title of Mary.
Mary, you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you,
Health of the Sick.
–Pope Francis' Prayer to Mary in the Coronavirus Pandemic
Mary, Mother of God was consecrated "Health of the Sick." Who will try to estimate the source of strength Mary was to Jesus in His dereliction, in His scourging, His crowning with thorns, His way of the Cross, and finally in the three-hour passion and death? Every line of the Stabat Mater is a commentary on Her title—"Health of the Sick," with its final prayer for a happy death, applying to us: "Christ when Thou shalt call me hence, be Thy Mother my defense; be Thy Cross my victory. While my body here decays, may my soul Thy goodness praise, safe in Paradise with Thee." And "Health of the Sick" primarily means our eternal health, our eternal salvation.
That Mary should have a special love for the sick was necessary if she was to follow the example of Jesus. He was the Divine Physician for bodies as well as souls. To narrate the many cures of the sick by Him and His Disciples would be to quote most of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. He had come to destroy sin; He had sympathy for the sickness which man had brought upon himself by original sin. The healing of the sick man was not only a proof of His Divine Mission, a proof that He was Lord of Life and Death, and therefore God, but also a work of pure Mercy, the compulsion of His love. His love for the sick was so great that He instituted the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, one of the purposes of which is to restore the body to health, if it is to the spiritual benefit of the patient.
We should learn that Our Lady loves our poor sick souls and will watch by them till the end. An old Irish poem reads; "There is no hound in fleetness nor in chase, north wind or rapid river, as quick as the Mother of Christ to the bed of death."
That is ever our confidence, as we pray the ancient prayer—"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death."