As part of the Traditional Missal, the Feast of our Lady Help of the Sick falls on Saturday before the last Sunday in August. This Feastday is kept by various religious orders in the Church as it one of the Masses Said in Some Places.
Make an effort today to say 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Marys for the repose of the soul of all of the sick who will die today and appear before Christ in Judgment.
1. Mary, Mother of God, help me to understand as clearly as God wishes to let me do so, the value of suffering and sickness. God has created nature and all the wondrous functions of the human body. He is the Master of His creation. He can and does suspend the laws of nature for those who have faith in His goodness and entreat Him in fervent prayer. He promised that my prayers would be heard when He said, "Ask, and it shall be given you" (Matt. 5, 7).
During His lifetime Jesus cured sickness and disease and even raised the dead to life, because people asked Him to do so in prayer. I firmly believe that He will hear my prayer also, if this should be the Will of God.
Help me to realize that it is only through the cross that I can attain to its glory and that it is only through suffering that I can possess the kingdom of heaven. Before you were crowned Queen of Heaven you became the Mother of Sorrows. All the saints suffered during their lifetime, but you are the Queen of them all as Queen of Martyrs. If I have been blessed with suffering, let me remember that this is the only way I can follow Jesus and you, for He said, "If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matt. 16, 24).
2. Mary, Mother of God, because of your influence in obtaining helpful remedies against spiritual and bodily maladies, the Church calls you the "Health of the Sick." Your power and motherly care not only embrace spiritual miseries but also extend to the ills of the body. How often do we see you restoring health to the sick who have recourse to you with childlike confidence? But much as your compassionate heart sympathizes with man's sufferings from bodily sickness, you certainly show greater care to relieve the spiritual sickness and weaknesses under which we labor.
How much I worry about my physical health! But how careless I am about my spiritual health! I realize that it is the command of God that I take ordinary care to insure bodily health. However, my sick soul is entitled to more vigilant care, for Jesus reminded me, "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul" (Matt. 16, 26).
Mary, My Mother, in all infirmities of body and soul, you are a sure refuge and relief. Down through the ages numberless people have recovered health of body and of spirit through your intercession! You lighten our sufferings, you obtain for us bodily health when it is conducive to our salvation and you help the soul to conquer its spiritual enemies; Teach me to be more earnest about seeking health of soul: to overcome my ruling passion, to free myself from the occasions of sin. I ask this with special earnestness from you who are the Health of the Sick.
How unimportant are the infirmities of the body compared to the infirmities of the soul! Infirmities of the body, patiently endured, may become the occasion of great merit. May the infirmities of my soul be my chief concern. Let me fear such sickness of soul as avarice, lust, luxury, ambition, hatred, anger—because, unless these are cured, they may bring about the eternal death of my soul.
3. Mary, Mother of God, sincere devotion to you is a sign of perseverance in doing good till death. Infirmities of the body are nature's warning voice concerning the approach of death, which I cannot finally escape. The Church teaches that final perseverance in good and a happy death are graces so great that no one can obtain them by his own merits or without special help from God. But saints and writers of the Church speak of devotion to you as a sign of perseverance in good and a happy death. They apply these words of Scripture to you: "He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord" (Prov. 8, 35).
Jesus gave you to me to be my Mother that you may enable me at my death to say as He did with a sense of humble gratitude to God for His graces: "It is finished"—"I have done the work God placed me upon this earth to do. I have loved and followed Jesus to the end. I have carried my cross patiently which He gave me to carry. I have saved my soul."
Mary, My Mother, I turn to you rather for health of soul than of body. Keep my soul in good health so that when my body fails, my soul may be prepared to meet its Maker and Judge. I am in need of forgiveness of sin, of strength in temptation. I need virtues, especially charity and humility and purity. Help me to overcome the enemies of my salvation and to persevere to the end in the friendship of God.
For vain joys or small profits people sacrifice much. For the small sacrifice of being devoted to you I can obtain a happy death and eternal life. I want to take devotion to you seriously. If I put my trust in you, I shall be saved. If you receive me under your care, I shall fear nothing because devotion to you is an unfailing sign of salvation. Your aid at the hour of my death will be for me a guarantee of salvation if through life I have sought to imitate the beautiful example of your life. How fortunate I will be, if at death I am bound with the sweet chains of love to you! These chains are chains of salvation for me, and they will make me enjoy in death that blessed peace which will be-the beginning of my eternal peace and rest. I look to you for the grace of final perseverance and a happy death. Thus you will be for me not only the Health of the Sick but also the Gate of Heaven.