May 13, 2000
The beatification Mass celebrated on 13 May in Fátima, Portugal, was followed by Eucharistic adoration and Benediction. After the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Father had a special greeting for the sick. Here is a translation of his remarks, which were made in Portuguese.
Dear Pilgrims to Fátima!
I would now like to offer a special greeting to the sick, who are present here in large numbers, but I also extend it to all who, at home or in hospital, have joined us in spirit.
The Pope greets you with great affection, dear sick people, and assures you and those who are close to you of a special remembrance in prayer. I place the longings of each of you on the altar where Jesus continuously intercedes and sacrifices himself for humanity.
I have come among you today as a witness to the risen Jesus. He knows what it is to suffer; he experienced the anguish of death, but by his death he destroyed death itself and is absolutely the first human being to have freed himself from its chains once and for all. He traveled man's whole journey to the heavenly homeland, where he has prepared a throne of glory for each of us.
Dear sick brother or sister!
If someone or something makes you think that you have reached the end of the line, do not believe it! If you know the eternal Love who created you, you also know that there is an immortal soul within you. There are various seasons in life; if by chance you feel winter approaching, I want you to know that it is not the last season, because the last one will be spring: the springtime of the Resurrection. Your whole life extends infinitely beyond its earthly limits: heaven awaits you.
Dear sick people!
I know that "the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Rom 8: 18). Take courage! In this Holy Year an abundance of the Father's grace is poured out on those who know how to receive it with the simple, trusting heart of a child. Jesus reminded us of this in the Gospel passage proclaimed earlier. Seek also to be numbered among these "little ones", dear sick people, so that Jesus will delight in you. In a little while he will draw near you to bless you personally in the Blessed Sacrament. He comes to you with the promise: "Behold, I make all things new" (Rv 21: 5). Have trust! Abandon yourselves to his provident hands, as did the little shepherds Francisco and Jacinta. They are telling you that you are not alone. The heavenly Father loves you.