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Prayers for the Sick are a great way to ask God for His healing and to give you, or your loved ones, comfort and strength to deal with afflictions, especially in these trying, tense times with the coronavirus pandemic!
Are you undergoing sickness from this virus or some other ailment? Or do you know someone who is? As we all know, while our Lord in His Passion opened up for us the gates of Heaven, He did not create Heaven on Earth.
We often travel in this life through a “valley of tears,” as we say in the prayer Hail Holy Queen. Illness is just one of many misfortunes people face in a world steeped in sin. But I hope the four prayers I’m about to share with you, along with some thoughts about their “medicinal” nature can help alleviate whatever anxieties or sufferings you or your loved ones may be experiencing.
I’d like to start out with this short prayer below:
Almighty and Everlasting God, the eternal salvation of those who believe in You, hear us on behalf of Your servants who are sick, for whom we humbly beg the help of your mercy, so that, being restored to health, they may render thanks to you in your Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
While these next three prayers may be said by someone who is suffering from an illness, they can just as easily be said for someone as well! Feel free to print them out from this page for others’ intentions as well as your own!
This moving prayer, known as a Prayer in Time of Sickness, is a wonderful appeal to our Lord for His grace as we offer our illnesses to Him in imitation of His sacrifice for us on the Cross at Calvary.
Jesus, You suffered and died for us. You understand suffering. Teach me to understand my suffering as You do; to bear it in union with You; to offer it with You to atone for my sins and to bring your grace to souls in need. Calm my fears; increase my trust. May I gladly accept your holy will and become more like You in trial. If it be your will, restore me to health so that I may work for your honor and glory and the salvation of all. Amen
It has been said that Christ is closest to us in our suffering. This Prayer for Grace in Sickness can help you cope during those times when you need to feel our Lord’s presence most!
Dear Lord, by allowing me to experience this affliction, so that I may share in your suffering on the cross for sin, you take a sublime chance that I might either draw closer to you for comfort, or turn away from you in my misery. O my Savior, grant me that precious grace to offer up my pain, as you did in Your Passion, to atone for sin. Help me to imitate your patience and to turn my complaints into offerings for my sins or for those of others, as you see fit. In this time of distress and pain, I ask, I seek, and I knock, for the grace of endurance, perseverance, and above all, trustful submission to Your Divine will, for my good and your glory. Amen.
And finally among these prayers, last but by no means least, I’d like to conclude with this Prayer for a Cure. I’m sure there are many such prayers being said now for those afflicted by the coronavirus or any other grave afflictions.
Gentle Jesus, who cured the sick and laid a healing hand upon the lame, the blind and the handicapped, look with compassion upon me in my suffering. If it is not Your Will to cure me, then give me strength to bear my burden and offer it up to You. You suffered so much for me. Give me grace to offer my sufferings in union with Your own, in reparation for my sins and those of others, for the needs of this troubled world, and for the release of the Souls in Purgatory. Mary, compassionate Mother, pray for your weary child. Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for me. Amen.
As you may have gathered here, from these prayers with similar petitions, there are two valuable benefits we can get from prayers for the sick: they can help those who are ill (and their loved ones) keep calm and patient in stressful or physically or emotionally unpleasant situations. And, as offerings to Jesus on the cross in atonement for sins, they can have enormous redemptive value.
Our Lord said that we would each have our crosses to bear in this life (Matt 10:38). However, he also gave us hope in trusting in Him to help see us through our difficulties. He said, as we read in Matthew’s Gospel “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest….For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Matt 11:28-30).
Prayers for the sick, as with all prayers, can help our Lord ease our burdens by giving us His graces to deal with them so that we can bear our crosses with more equanimity and with more patience.
Also, uniting our sufferings in prayer with Christ’s on the Cross helps us make amends for our sins and those of others. This can have a powerful effect in saving souls!
As Archbishop Fulton Sheen put it “Love does not have the power to kill pain or to extinguish it, but it does have the power to diminish it. One can say ‘I will accept this particular suffering in order to make reparation for my own faults’. Or we can offer up suffering for others. Thus through love of God suffering becomes sacrifice.” And, what’s more, as he said, “Once offered as a sacrifice, pain can liberate the soul and turn a curse into a blessing.”
While Christ’s Passion brought us our redemption, our Lord desires nonetheless that each of us unites our pain with His, for the salvation of souls. This can transform our trials into atonement for sin, as I mentioned before.
St. Augustine once wrote “God could in no way permit the kind of evil out of which He could not bring good.” Christ’s Passion, death and Resurrection gives us the ultimate powerful example of this. Who would have thought that our Lord’s humiliation on the Cross would precede His triumph over sin and death for us all? He desires to bring as much good out of our misfortunes as we will let Him.
As St. Augustine once said, “let us understand that God is a Physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation.”
Although we might wish our Lord would heal us of our afflictions as quickly (and miraculously!) as He did for so many while in His earthly ministry, we might not get timely relief. Yet Jesus can work on healing our souls, if not our bodies, right away, in increasing our humility, our compassion, and our desire to love others, through our prayers.
Also, as the Prayer in Time of Sickness points out, if we can trust in God to see us through no matter what, we can glorify Him and contribute to our salvation (and that of others as well) in sickness and in health!
This might seem like a tall order, particularly when you are undergoing a great deal of pain. We might admire those who carry their crosses gracefully. We might even feel grateful for a particular cross if we emerge stronger after bearing it, once the ordeal is over!
But how often do we embrace our crosses during sickness? You might have heard it said that God will only send us the crosses we can bear. Yet, especially during a serious illness, that cross seems to be made of lead, not wood, as it crushes down on us.
If then we turn away from God, we risk turning fragile moments into brittle ones. We lose the opportunity to bear our pain with love for Him as He bore His suffering out of love for us on the Cross. We lose the grace of trusting in Him to see us through our ordeal and to help us get to Heaven. In the same vein, St. John Vianney, the famous Patron Saint of Parish Priests once referred to our crosses as “the ladder to heaven.”
In this regard, It also helps a great deal to keep our “eyes on the prize”: the bliss of Eternal Life there. St. Paul wrote that, in effect, heaven’s magnificence may indeed be ours “if we suffer with Him [Christ], that we may also be glorified with Him” (Rom 8:17).
What we need to pray for most is a patient, persevering trust in God to do the right thing for us if we seek to follow His will, no matter what the circumstances.
The degree to which we are receptive to God’s graces is the degree to which we will be given more! You might have heard the popular expression “Let Go and Let God.” Let Jesus help you carry your crosses in prayer!
Keep in mind that if we trust in God to do what is good for us, and reinforce this trust through prayers such the ones linked above, we can achieve that wonderful state of grace where we can be content in sickness or in health, knowing that God is in charge and wishes to bring about our good for His glory, no matter what may happen.
As John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote in one of his well-known prayers “God has created me to do Him some definite service….therefore I will trust Him…if I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him….He knows what He is about.”
The last of the prayers above, the Prayer for a Cure is good also in that it brings our Blessed Mother into the picture. When our Lord said to St. John from the cross “Behold, thy Mother”, he made her our Mother as well, as noted by St. Bernadine of Siena. As such she is more than ready to pray for us to her Divine Son. St. Basil once said that “such is the Divine Will that she should help in every kind of necessity.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for her assistance as well as that of Jesus! As we read in the wonderful prayer the Memorare, “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.”
Finally, I’d like to note here that we have a page for prayer requests on our site ourcatholicprayers.com for those of you who would like to have more people praying for your concerns, whether they’re about the coronavirus, some other illness, or anything else. Feel free to post requests there if you think that might help in some way! Now more than ever, keep as close to our Lord as possible, and never stop asking for his help and grace through prayer!