Lord, teach us to pray:
(To be read by the Leader)
“God created humanity in His image and likeness, in His divine image He created him; male and female He created them….God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good, (Gen. 1, 27, 31)”
Brothers, last month we discussed the Churches teaching on suffering, the inevitability of suffering and particularly the reality of suffering within end of life illnesses. So, what are some realistic alternatives to simply ending it all with assisted suicide and euthanasia? “The alternative is to provide people of all ages, particularly those who are seriously ill or disabled, including those in terminal phase, with the utmost personal attention.” We can accomplish this with quality palliative care offered in the home, care center
or hospital setting. This high quality personal attention coupled with the best pain control and alleviation of suffering possible is what will allow an individual to “die with dignity.”
This personal high quality attention I speak of is not only a remedy of the medical profession. This is a moment in time when you and I are offered the gift of simply being present to a loved one who is seriously ill. We do not have to carry on a conversation with them; we don’t have to have all the answers. Simply by being present to them, we are demonstrating that we know they are a child of God and therefore are deserving of all dignity, love and pain management that is possible. You will not know until you meet the Lord face to face how much value your quiet time with a loved one or a brother Knight meant to them. Top quality health care, pain management; and as important as all these, your quiet presence, walking with them on their final journey in this temporal world. This type of care and attention keeps a person who is very ill from feeling abandoned and left to seek desperate measures to deal with their health challenges and loneliness at a very difficult time.
You may ask; what about the person whose pain cannot be controlled, or perhaps those whose pain could be alleviated but they cannot face or deal with the loss of their perceived dignity? “Experts in palliative care state that only a very small proportion of people suffer from intractable pain and even then there are means to keep them comfortable.” Regarding a perceived loss of dignity, our dignity does not come from what we do or our particular status in life. Dignity is afforded to all of humanity by virtue of their membership in the human race. The extension of this brother is that as we have been created in God’s image and likeness, this is what affords us the dignity of the human person. Flat on our back and helpless or the
CEO of Microsoft, both stations in life are entitled and need to be treated with an inherent dignity that belongs to each of us, why? Because we are God’s children, created in His image and likeness, therefore an innate dignity is part of who we are as human persons.
(To be read by the Leader)
Brothers, we give life dignity by the way we respond to it, to one another and particularly to those who are in a situation of powerlessness or helplessness. We can and should treat all people ill or otherwise with dignity and respect. We need to let our loved ones know that no matter what their circumstance or health issue, that they are loved and cared for, simply because they are God’s children. Walking with a friend or loved one at a time when they feel compromised and helpless can be painful and a difficult experience for us. It is however an opportunity for expressing love, gratitude and support through simple words and actions. It is an opportunity for spiritual growth and reconciliation with God and with one another.
Brothers, death is a door that we will all enter through. How we pass through that door, how we accompany those who are at the end of their lives is a wonderful opportunity to witness as disciples of Jesus Christ who cared always for the poor and the marginalized. As His disciples you and I have been afforded a beautiful gift in being able to walk with the sick and the dying children of God. It is what they need from us and it will serve them well on their journey, it will strengthen and inspire us for our own journeys.
“God created humanity in His image and likeness, in His divine image He created him; Male and female He created them….God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good, (Gen. 1, 27, 31)”
(The Leader now invites the members to spend a few moments in silent reflection, as the above text is not meant to be a ready-made answer but a starter for personal reflection on the theme.)
(The leader now invites the members to share with their Brother Knights any relevant thoughts that came to them during the meditation period.)
(Recited by all)
Let us pray:
“Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”