Updated: Jul 21
18 July 2020 / Saint Camillus De Lellis
Ave Maria Parish & University / Romanus Cessario, O.P.
Today’s saint especially merits our devotion during a time when sickness haunts the country. Camillus De Lellis lived in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. He is the patron of the sick, hospitals, and nurses. His work in transforming the health care system of the Rome of his day earned him this intercession. Fallen human nature does not naturally show compassion to sick persons. Rather, persons with disabilities are considered a drain on society. Camillus, on the other hand, insisted that heath care workers treat their patients as other Christs. In turn, he founded an order of clerics—the Camillans— who would devote themselves to the care of the sick.
“A bruised reed he will not break, / a smoldering wick he will not quench” (Mt 12: 20). This Gospel text fits the feast of Saint Camillus. Christ does not break bruised reeds nor does he quench smoldering wicks. These metaphors can stand not only for the sick, who are physically disabled, but also for each one of us. As sinners, whether great or small, we welcome the news that Our Lord cares for us. He wants to draw out what is good in us. Whether we find ourselves like wicks or reeds, Christ wants to make us prosper.
Because we find ourselves so well treated, we also show sympathy to others around us. Unjust criticism holds no place in a community where Christ the Divine Physician offers his healing and love. Nothing that approaches the drenching of smoldering wicks or the crushing of bruised reeds should occur among Catholics.