|St Benedict resurrects a monk crushed by a wall|
The injunction is of course Scriptural, put most explictly in Sirach 7:39 ('Do not be slow to visit the sick') and St Matthew 25: 36.
Sickness is a time when we tend to be at our worst, and so provides an opportunity for both the sick person and the visitor to grow in grace!
Service of the sick
In Chapter 36 of his Rule, provides instruction on the care of the sick in the monastery, which should serve as a model for Christians more generally, as we 'bear one another's burdens':
St Benedict also points to illness as an opportunity for the sick:
"...let the sick on their part consider that they are being served for the honour of God, and not provoke their brethren who are serving them by their unreasonable demands."
More fundamentally, illness is a call to repentance that reminds us to fear everlasting death. Today's Gospel in the Extraordinary Form, on the resurrection of the son of the widow of Naim, is a call for us to serve as Christ to the sick, helping resurrect, if necessary their souls from the death of sin. St Augustine's commentary on the Gospel, read at Matins, notes that:
"The widowed mother rejoiced over her son who had been brought to life again; holy Mother the Church rejoices over those men who, as happens daily, are quickened in the spirit...Only three men do we find who were raised from the dead visibly by the Lord, but we find thousands raised invisibly."