“You received without payment; give without payment” (Mt 10:8)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“You received without payment; give without payment” (Mt 10:8). These are the words spoken by Jesus when sending forth his apostles to spread the Gospel, so that his Kingdom might grow through acts of gratuitous love.

On the XXVII World Day of the Sick, to be solemnly celebrated on 11 February 2019 in Calcutta, India, the Church – as a Mother to all her children, especially the infirm – reminds us that generous gestures like that of the Good Samaritan are the most credible means of evangelization. Caring for the sick requires professionalism, tenderness, straightforward and simple gestures freely given, like a caress that makes others feel loved.

Life is a gift from God. Saint Paul asks: “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). Precisely because it is a gift, human life cannot be reduced to a personal possession or private property, especially in the light of medical and biotechnological advances that could tempt us to manipulate the “tree of life” (cf. Gen 3:24).

Amid today’s culture of waste and indifference, I would point out that “gift” is the category best suited to challenging today’s individualism and social fragmentation, while at the same time promoting new relationships and means of cooperation between peoples and cultures. Dialogue – the premise of gift – creates possibilities for human growth and development capable of breaking through established ways of exercising power in society. “Gift” means more than simply giving presents: it involves the giving of oneself, and not simply a transfer of property or objects. “Gift” differs from gift-giving because it entails the free gift of self and the desire to build a relationship. It is the acknowledgement of others, which is the basis of society. “Gift” is a reflection of God’s love, which culminates in the incarnation of the Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Each of us is poor, needy and destitute. When we are born, we require the care of our parents to survive, and at every stage of life we remain in some way dependent on the help of others. We will always be conscious of our limitations, as “creatures”, before other individuals and situations. A frank acknowledgement of this truth keeps us humble and spurs us to practice solidarity as an essential virtue in life.

Such an acknowledgement leads us to act responsibly to promote a good that is both personal and communal. Only if we see ourselves, not as a world apart, but in a fraternal relationship with others, can we develop a social practice of solidarity aimed at the common good. We should not be afraid to regard ourselves as needy or reliant on others, because individually and by our own efforts we cannot overcome our limitations. So we should not fear, then, to acknowledge those limitations, for God himself, in Jesus, has humbly stooped down to us (cf. Phil 2:8) and continues to do so; in our poverty, he comes to our aid and grants us gifts beyond our imagining.

In light of the solemn celebration in India, I would like to recall, with joy and admiration, the figure of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta – a model of charity who made visible God’s love for the poor and sick. As I noted at her canonization, “Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, of those unborn and those abandoned and discarded… She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime – the crimes! – of poverty they created. For Mother Teresa, mercy was the ‘salt’ which gave flavour to her work; it was the ‘light’ that shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering. Her mission to the urban and existential peripheries remains for us today an eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poorest of the poor” (Homily, 4 September 2016).

Saint Mother Teresa helps us understand that our only criterion of action must be selfless love for every human being, without distinction of language, culture, ethnicity or religion. Her example continues to guide us by opening up horizons of joy and hope for all those in need of understanding and tender love, and especially for those who suffer.

Generosity inspires and sustains the work of the many volunteers who are so important in health care and who eloquently embody the spirituality of the Good Samaritan. I express my gratitude and offer my encouragement to all those associations of volunteers committed to the transport and assistance of patients, and all those that organize the donation of blood, tissues and organs. One particular area in which your presence expresses the Church’s care and concern is that of advocacy for the rights of the sick, especially those affected by pathologies requiring special assistance. I would also mention the many efforts made to raise awareness and encourage prevention. Your volunteer work in medical facilities and in homes, which ranges from providing health care to offering spiritual support, is of primary importance. Countless persons who are ill, alone, elderly or frail in mind or body benefit from these services. I urge you to continue to be a sign of the Church’s presence in a secularized world. A volunteer is a good friend with whom one can share personal thoughts and emotions; by their patient listening, volunteers make it possible for the sick to pass from being passive recipients of care to being active participants in a relationship that can restore hope and inspire openness to further treatment. Volunteer work passes on values, behaviours and ways of living born of a deep desire to be generous. It is also a means of making health care more humane.

A spirit of generosity ought especially to inspire Catholic healthcare institutions, whether in the more developed or the poorer areas of our world, since they carry out their activity in the light of the Gospel. Catholic facilities are called to give an example of self-giving, generosity and solidarity in response to the mentality of profit at any price, of giving for the sake of getting, and of exploitation over concern for people.

I urge everyone, at every level, to promote the culture of generosity and of gift, which is indispensable for overcoming the culture of profit and waste. Catholic healthcare institutions must not fall into the trap of simply running a business; they must be concerned with personal care more than profit. We know that health is relational, dependent on interaction with others, and requiring trust, friendship and solidarity. It is a treasure that can be enjoyed fully only when it is shared. The joy of generous giving is a barometer of the health of a Christian.

I entrust all of you to Mary, Salus Infirmorum. May she help us to share the gifts we have received in the spirit of dialogue and mutual acceptance, to live as brothers and sisters attentive to each other’s needs, to give from a generous heart, and to learn the joy of selfless service to others. With great affection, I assure you of my closeness in prayer, and to all I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Vatican City, 25 November 2018

Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

第 27 届世界病患日文告
2019 年 2 月 11 日

「你们白白得来的,也要白白分施。 」(玛十 8)


「你们白白得来的,也要白白分施」(玛十 8)。这是耶稣于派遣宗徒们传 报福音时所说的,好使祂的王国能够借着无以偿还的爱的行动,获得扩展。

第二十七届世界病患日,将于 2019 年 2 月 11 日在印度加尔各答隆重庆祝; 教会身为她所有子女的母亲,尤其是病弱者的母亲,提醒我们:如同慈善 的撒玛黎雅人那样慷慨大方的行为,是最为令人信服的福传途径。照顾病 患,必须专业与温柔兼备,殷勤侍奉,不求回报,犹如轻柔的抚触,使人 深感受到钟爱。

生命是来自天主的恩赐。圣保禄曾问说:「你有什么不是领受的呢?」(格 前四 7)。正因为人的生命是一份恩赐,所以绝不能被贬低为一件个人物品 或私人财产。尤其今日医学发达,生物科技突飞猛进,极有可能陷我们于 操控「生命树」的诱惑。(参阅:创三 24)

尽管时下盛行「用完即弃」与冷漠的文化,我却要指出:「赠予」,正好向 目前当道的个人主义和社会分化的现象提出挑战,同时促使各民族与文化 之间的合作及新的关系。「赠予」的前提是「交谈」──开拓促进人性成长 及人类发展的各种网络,得以突破社会原本建立的权力运作模式。「赠予」 不仅只是单纯地给予礼物、转交财产、致赠物品而已,甚至包含了付出自 己。「赠予」与送礼不同,导引人不计一切的奉献自己,并激发出建立关系 的渴望。透过「赠予」,人们彼此肯定,是构成社群连系不可或缺的要素。 「赠予」反映出天主的爱,圣子的降生及圣神的倾注是其高峰。

我们每个人都是匮乏、贫困和亟需帮助的。我们一诞生就需要父母的照顾 才能存活;同样地,在我们生命中的每个阶段,都无法完全不求助于他人, 而是一直必须仰赖他人的帮助。身为「受造物」,我们在他人面前,或遭逢 各种境遇时,经常会察觉到自己的限度。只要我们愿意坦白承认此一事实, 我们便能保持谦卑,更勇毅地实践团结互助的精神,将之视为生命中绝不 可缺的美德。

承认此事实,这便催促我们要负责任地有所行动,去提倡个人及大众两者 密不可分的益利。只要我们不再将自己视为局外人,承认自己本来就和其 它人息息相关,感觉到跟他们如同弟兄姊妹,并能够保持彼此友爱的关系, 就可以促进社会发展精诚团结的实际行动,其目的在于谋求众人的福祉。 我们不应该害怕承认:自己不但需要帮助,更需要依靠他人。若我们单单 凭借个人的努力,将无法超越本身的限度;所以我们不要再心怀恐惧,因 为天主也曾贬抑自己,屈尊就卑,成为耶稣,与人同在(参阅:斐二 8)。 直到今天,祂仍常俯身亲近我们;每当我们贫困缺乏时,祂总是前来援助 我们,给予我们超出想象的各样恩赐。

鉴于本届世界病患日将在印度隆重庆祝,我怀着喜乐之心及景仰之情,希 望能唤起众人对加尔各答的圣德兰嬷嬷的记忆──她是爱德的楷模,使人 看见天主对穷人和病人的爱。在她的宣圣典礼时,我曾说:「不论就德兰嬷 嬷生命中的哪一个层面来看,她都是一位慷慨的分施者,大方地给予人天 主的慈悲──因为她总是亲切待人,又挺身捍卫那些未出生的胎儿和那些 被遗弃的生命,一生为他人而活。 (……)她俯身亲近那些被消磨殆尽、被 任意弃置路边的可怜人们,在他们身上认出天主赋予他们的尊严;她使世 上的权势,在听到她发声以后,在面对他们一手造成的贫穷(……)所衍 生的各种犯罪行为时,能够承认自己有罪。为德兰嬷嬷而言,慈悲是『盐』, 给她的善工增添滋味;也是『光』,照亮许多人的黑暗:他们对自己的贫穷 和痛苦,早已欲哭无泪。直到今天,她过去在加尔各答市区和现今仍然存 在的市郊地区所达成的使命,对我们来说,强而有力地见证了天主对最小 兄弟无微不至的照顾。 」(《证道词》 ,2016 年 9 月 4 日)

圣德兰嬷嬷帮助我们了解,我们行为的唯一标准,就是对所有人类无私的 爱,不分语言、文化、种族或宗教。她的芳表,仍持续不断地引导我们,为那些渴望被了解和被温柔对待的人们──特别是那些受苦的人们──开 展喜乐与希望的疆界。慷慨服务的精神驱使很多志工们,在健康照护中以 令人折服的方式体现慈善撒玛黎雅人的灵修,并支持他们的工作。在此我 要向所有载运及救助病患的志工组织,以及所有筹办血液、器官和组织捐 赠活动的人士,为表达我的感谢与鼓励。志工服务的特色,是借着你们的 临在而得以体现出来,就是教会对病患的关怀照顾,并维护病患的权益, 尤其是那些因疾病侵扰而须要特殊救助的病患。许多志工努力提高大众对 疾病的意识,并加强对疾病的预防。你们在医疗院所及病患住家所做的志 工服务,从提供健康照护到给予精神上的支持,都极为重要。多少患病者、 孤独者、年长者和身心孱弱者,皆从中获益。我勉励你们继续在这个俗化 的世界做教会临在的标记。志工是良友,不求己利,病患可以放心地和他 们诉说个人的想法,并流露真情;透过他们耐心的倾听,病患能够从被动 地接受照顾,到主动地参与一份彼此互惠的关系,藉此重建希望,并保持 开放的心,去接受更完备的治疗。志工服务所要传递的,是慷慨付出的价 值观、行为和生活方式,发自内心,并使健康照护更加人性。

天主教会的健康照护机构,不论设立在世界上较为发展的地区或较为贫穷 的地区,都应该秉持大方分施,不求报偿的精神,遵照福音,经营其所属 事业。面对当前社会人们抱持的种种心态,比如:不顾一切争取利益、凡 付出必求回报,以及对人只有利用没有关怀等等,隶属天主教会的服务单 位,却蒙召奉行自我奉献、慷慨大方和团结互助的律则,成为众人的楷模。

我敦促每一个人,不论阶层,为能克胜谋利文化和「用完即弃」的文化, 务必要推动慷慨分施和大方赠予的文化。天主教的健康照护机构,绝不能 陷入诱惑,沦为单纯的营利事业;与其汲汲谋利,更应该对人照顾周详。 众人皆知,个人的健康与他人息息相关,不但要能和他人有良好的互动, 并需要付出信任及友谊,同时发挥团结互助的精神。健康是一份宝藏,唯 有将之与人分享,才能完全享有。一个基督徒是否健康,端看他/她有无 展现出慷慨分施的喜乐。

在此,我将你们所有的人托付于玛利亚──病人之痊。愿她帮助我们,秉 持相互对谈和彼此接纳的精神,分享我们所领受的各样恩赐,如同弟兄姊 妹般地生活,互相关照,以慷慨的心大方分施,体验舍弃己利服务他人的 喜乐。我怀着对你们的感情,向你们保证,我和你们所有人在祈祷中紧密 相连,并全心赐予你们宗座遐福。

2018 年 11 月 25 日,基督君王节

(台湾地区主教团秘书处 恭译)