A Happy Nurses Day to all our Catholic nurses!
On behalf of the Church and especially all patients and their loved ones, I want to thank you for the wonderful service you have rendered. Nursing is not just a profession but it is primarily a vocation – a vocation of love. You need a heart to be a real nurse. You must love humanity and be able to identify with the sick, to see them as persons who need our love and care. Like St Francis who kissed the wounds of the leper, you are invited to see the suffering Christ in those whom you nurse. As our Lord says in Matt 25:40 – “In so far as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” Pope Francis underscores this too when he said, “To encounter the Living God, is to touch the wounded and the suffering.” Indeed, in serving the poor and the sick, we are enriched by them. We begin also to appreciate our own lives and health. The time and resources sacrificed cannot be compared to the joy of bringing hope and comfort to another in need. This is your greatest reward – to partake in the ministry of healing by being the hands, feet, ears and voice of Jesus. When we become one with humanity, we grow in magnanimity and love. The person who can love is the richest person on earth.
Today, due to advancements in science, technology and research; it is all too easy to focus on interventions and procedures as the ultimate “cure”, while neglecting that the human person is more than just body. You must therefore strive for healing that goes beyond physical healing, for there is a real connection between the body and the spirit (as recognised in psychosomatic illness). Healing must be an integral process, which includes the healing of heart, mind and body. It is therefore important to remember that patients and their loved ones need lots of assurance, encouragement and understanding. As a famous medical quote goes, “to cure sometimes, to relieve often, and to comfort always.” As you continue to upgrade your skills and knowledge, never forget that the patients you attend to are not just simply cases but persons with feelings and with a heart. Pray for the gift of compassion, that like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you will be able to see the face of Christ in each of the sick patients that you care for.
I therefore salute and commend all of you today for your sacrifice. Your work is difficult, stressful and often demanding. It is not easy to deal with doctors, patients and relatives! Truly, we do not take you for granted. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless you and your families as you radiate His love to all those whom you care for. Thank you so much, all you guardian angels. St Raphael, pray for us.
HAPPY NURSES DAY!
Most Rev Msgr William Goh
Archbishop of Singapore