Illness is everyone’s affair. This not only means that we will all fall ill some time or other, but that each human being carries a lifelong ailment with him or her. In the language of the Act of Consecration of Man this is called the sickness of sin.
A critical question applies to every form of healing, including the sickness of sin: “Have you the will to become whole?” Not only does this question sound in many different ways in the healings Christ performed during His life on earth; today also, this is the most important question that can make healing possible, yes or no. Of course, a physician can provide a remedy that takes the symptoms away. But that does not affect the cause, and sooner or later the illness will raise its head again in another form. Strangely enough, there are people who don’t even have the will to be healed anymore. The only thing they want is a miracle drug that does the work for them.
Such a one was the paralyzed man in Bethesda. He had almost given up the hope to be healed—even though he was still waiting for someone who would take him to the water at the last moment. He did not even answer the critical question: “Have you the will to become whole?” Instead there was his despondent message: No one helps me. Nothing helps me. I give up. But as long as there was a trace of life, Christ called in the depths of his despair: “Stand up!”
And we? When sooner or later we go through an illness, when we have direct experience of the sickness of sin and are close to despair—listen to the still, strong voice that calls: “Stand up!”